Designing a strategy to develop Myanmar’s exports

2 May 2013
ITC News
ITC to assist Myanmar’s public and private sectors in developing a National Export Strategy.

After decades of internal military rule, which led to economic sanctions by the international community, Myanmar is now on the path towards democratic governance and market reforms.

As the country is gradually opening-up, Myanmar is, with the help of the International Trade Centre (ITC), preparing to draft its first ever five-year strategic plan aimed at boosting exports. ITC is working in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce to implement a National Export Strategy (NES) project, which will provide a blueprint for competitiveness and development in the country’s export sector. The first NES stakeholder consultation will take place on 2-4 May in Nay Pyi Taw, with public and private sector stakeholders working together to design the strategy.

Myanmar currently relies on a few key export products such as natural gas, rice, teak, beans, pulses, sesame seeds, gems, fish and shrimps. The National Export Strategy will explore the potential for new products and look at how to expand the markets for existing products. The NES project is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Tint Thwin, Deputy Director of Myanmar’s Directorate of Trade, said that the lack of an export strategy causes weaknesses in the export sector, and that in a developing country strategies are needed to help find export commodities. He said that previously people have thought locally and acted locally.

ITC has been supporting the private sector in Myanmar since 1999, when it partnered with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), as part of ITC’s regional South-South Trade Promotion Programme. The programme helped to establish new business contacts for small and medium-sized enterprises in Asian markets.

“ITC is committed to coordinating closely with other development partners to support Myanmar’s development agenda,” said Mr Friedrich von Kirchbach, Director of ITC Division of Country Programmes. “The National Export Strategy is very timely in contributing to the trade reform process and will also help identify particular interventions to further strengthen private sector competitiveness.”

ITC is also part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity and of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), under which Myanmar is a beneficiary country.

From Eleven Myanmar: Myanmar to draft strategic plan for exports taking UN support.