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Last Updated:[15-07-2010 00:53:16 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Viet Nam Eyes Robust Myanmar Market

tradenews The Viet Nam Ambassador to Myanmar feels that Myanmar has all the trappings of providing big returns for investments ranging from mining, forestry management, agriculture and aquaculture to telecommunication, tourism and health-care services. Myanmar had a population of 56mn, and it was a large market for consumer products since its local production only met 13 percent of demand, clarified Chu Cong Phung.

Myanmar and Viet Nam have similar history and share almost identical culture and religion. While Viet Nam suffered boycott by the West in the past Myanmar continues to be ostracized by the US and the EU as well.

Phung who is active in Myanmar for some time with humanitarian aid became confident about its market following the back to back success of two trade fairs held to promote Vietnamese products in Yangon last September and April. Although the two-way trade between both sides last year was a meagre $74mn, the first half of this year is showing an uptick by recording $58mn.

Viet Nam exports steel products, cement, processed foods, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and electrical goods and other appliances. On the other hand, Myanmar's main exports to Viet Nam are wood and forestry products, natural rubber and seafood.

According to the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Myanmar, Vietnamese enterprises have pledged investments of nearly $1bn in Myanmar this year, well short of their investments in the neighbouring Laos and Cambodia of about $6bn each. But Phung believes that the coming years will witness a greater interest among Vietnamese businesses to tap the new market as there is huge demand for their products in Myanmar on account of their quality, range and reasonable prices.

Nevertheless, Phung admitted that the businesses would have to undergo challenges such as tortuous import licensing procedures and difficulties in getting payments, major reason being the US and the EU embargo against Myanmar. But he advised Vietnamese enterprises to strictly follow the guidelines of the Vietnamese embassy in Myanmar and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and do financial transactions only through designated banks.

Under British colonial era, Myanmar was the second-wealthiest country in South-East Asia but the country is one of the poorest in the region today. Viet Nam aspires to make Myanmar as developed as itself through exchanges as the former too emerged from the shadows of prolonged sanctions from the West.

By Jose Roy

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