Myanmar investment law “within days”

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Myanmar’s president Thein Sein

The long-awaited new investment law in Myanmar will be finalised and enacted “within days”, the country’s president Thein Sein told media in his first-ever domestic press conference on October 21 in Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypytaw.

A draft of the law was passed by parliament last month but Thein Sein – who must approve the bill – sent it back for amendments following signs of discord over how far the country should be opened up to outside investors. Sein requested five key changes and had 11 suggested modifications.

In fact, the bill has passed back and forth between the legislative and executive branches since March in a tussle involving a government eager to attract foreign investment, tycoons determined to protect their monopolies, and small businesses keen not to be shut out. Western companies have been deterred by legal uncertainty over foreign investment laws.

Among changes proposed by the president to the investment code is the scrapping of a proposed minimum start-up investment of $5 million. He has also proposed changing the limit of foreign ownership in key sectors to 50 per cent. Another significant change would be the overhaul of a long list of sectors that barred foreign investment, such as fisheries and agriculture. Tax exemptions for an initial five-year period and 50-year property leases would be retained.

In the first nine months of 2012, approved foreign investment in Myanmar stood to $31 billion, about $10 billion less than over the same period last year. China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand remained the leading investors in Myanmar.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar’s president Thein Sein

The long-awaited new investment law in Myanmar will be finalised and enacted “within days”, the country’s president Thein Sein told media in his first-ever domestic press conference on October 21 in Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypytaw.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar’s president Thein Sein

The long-awaited new investment law in Myanmar will be finalised and enacted “within days”, the country’s president Thein Sein told media in his first-ever domestic press conference on October 21 in Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypytaw.

A draft of the law was passed by parliament last month but Thein Sein – who must approve the bill – sent it back for amendments following signs of discord over how far the country should be opened up to outside investors. Sein requested five key changes and had 11 suggested modifications.

In fact, the bill has passed back and forth between the legislative and executive branches since March in a tussle involving a government eager to attract foreign investment, tycoons determined to protect their monopolies, and small businesses keen not to be shut out. Western companies have been deterred by legal uncertainty over foreign investment laws.

Among changes proposed by the president to the investment code is the scrapping of a proposed minimum start-up investment of $5 million. He has also proposed changing the limit of foreign ownership in key sectors to 50 per cent. Another significant change would be the overhaul of a long list of sectors that barred foreign investment, such as fisheries and agriculture. Tax exemptions for an initial five-year period and 50-year property leases would be retained.

In the first nine months of 2012, approved foreign investment in Myanmar stood to $31 billion, about $10 billion less than over the same period last year. China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Thailand remained the leading investors in Myanmar.

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