2014 Trade and Investment Profile
After a series of bold social and economic reforms since its return to civilian rule in 2011, Myanmar has made a strong start on its journey toward peace, democracy, and prosperity, one that could put its troubled postwar history behind it. To secure its course, however, it will have to navigate a complex set of long and short-term measures that are potentially fraught with difficulty.
While initial reforms focused on the political system and national unity, major macroeconomic reforms are well under way, the exchange rate has been unified under a managed float and the country now has an independent central bank. Authorities have begun establishing basic regulatory structures and removing unnecessary hurdles to business and trade, providing legal foundation for foreign investment, improving essential public services, and addressing governance and corruption issues.
In response, the economy has sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth of more than 7% for two years running, a remarkable performance helped by foreign governments lifting long-standing trade sanctions. Foreign investment is flowing in, foreign exchange earnings rising, and tourists are returning to enjoy the country’s outstanding areas of natural beauty and cultural attractions.
These achievements, with visible improvements in most economic and some social and political indicators, illustrate the government’s strong commitment to economic development and the scope for further rapid deployment of innovative policies.
Modernising an economy is a complex task and the government needs to prioritise and sequence reform and address constraints to sustained rapid economic growth. Observers widely acknowledge the huge opportunity, yet the country is facing difficult challenges in almost all aspects of economic and social policy. Despite this there are many example of successful trade and investment opportunities in this emerging economy.
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