MOU will help S'pore firms looking to Myanmar

Construction work in Yangon. IE Singapore and the Myanmar Investment Commission signed an agreement yesterday which will help Singapore companies to explore business openings in Myanmar. ST FILE PHOTO
Construction work in Yangon. IE Singapore and the Myanmar Investment Commission signed an agreement yesterday which will help Singapore companies to explore business openings in Myanmar. ST FILE PHOTO

Singapore firms will find it easier to team up with partners in fast-emerging Myanmar to explore business openings there under a new bilateral agreement.

Trade agency IE Singapore signed the memorandum of understanding with the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) yesterday.

The MOU will open doors for more Singapore firms to explore collaborations in urban and housing solutions, utilities, transport and logistics, manufacturing, oil and gas, and professional services.

It was signed by IE Singapore's assistant chief executive Tan Soon Kim and MIC's secretary Aung Naing Oo, on the sidelines of the sixth Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee meeting in Singapore.

It was witnessed by Trade and Industry (Trade) Minister Lim Hng Kiang and Union Minister for Planning and Finance and MIC chairman Kyaw Win.

"Myanmar has shown steady growth since its political and economic reforms started in 2011," Mr Tan said in a statement.

"Whilst teething challenges are present, as with any emerging economy, we note the government's efforts to create a conducive business environment for foreign investors. For instance, its newly passed investment law shows the government's commitment to promote investments."

As at March 31, Singapore was Myanmar's top foreign investor, with investments amounting to US$4.3 billion (S$5.9 billion).

IE Singapore said it has been working closely with Singapore companies across all sectors to contribute to the growing infrastructure and lifestyle needs of the country's burgeoning urban population as its key cities develop.

For example, through the trade agency's introduction and facilitation, BreadTalk successfully negotiated its franchise model with Myanmar conglomerate Shwe Taung. Its first stall in the country has opened on the ground floor of Shwe Taung's landmark Junction City mall in Yangon.

Singapore firm Bok Seng Logistics also made its first inroads into Myanmar after identifying a credible local business partner with IE Singapore's facilitation.

In February, it signed an MOU with Ayeyar Hinthar, the largest conglomerate in the Ayeyarwady region, which owns the region's first large-scale industrial park, Pathein Industrial City.

With this, Bok Seng will explore the provision of logistics hubs services to the industrial park and beyond.

IE Singapore has also been working with Surbana Jurong to expand in the market through the introduction of project leads and partners.

Surbana Jurong is involved in 40 projects across Myanmar in Yangon, Bago, Mandalay, Rakhine state and the Ayeryarwady region.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2017, with the headline 'MOU will help S'pore firms looking to Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe