Myanmar export strategy to focus on sector growth and market diversification

23 September 2013
ITC News
Representatives of the government and the business community will jointly define the priorities to boost export competitiveness in Myanmar, focusing on the development of selected sectors

Policymakers and representatives of the business community in Myanmar will meet next month to define, with ITC support, the action plan that will form the basis of the country’s first-ever national export strategy (NES) to be finalized by the end of the year, marking an important step towards the mainstreaming of trade in the country’s national development plans.

The consultations, which will take place from 1 to 11 October in Yangon, will provide representatives of ministries and business associations the opportunity to discuss sector diagnostics, evaluate value-chain performance and define market opportunities to boost their country’s competitiveness and export capacity.

Targeting sectors

The Union Cabinet of Myanmar recently approved sectors and cross-sectors to be included in the NES design initiative, targeting increased exports of rice; pulses; beans and oilseed crops; fish and crustaceans; textiles and garments; rubber; and tourism. The country currently relies on a few key export products.

The NES will provide recommendations for market development for each of the priority sectors, and it will explore the growth potential of new and existing products. These steps are in line with the country’s objective of supporting traditional export sectors, such as agriculture, while promoting export diversification.

The NES also targets cross-sector functions that are critical to improving SMEs’ capacity to export, such as access to finance; trade information; quality management; and trade facilitation and logistics.

In cooperation with the government, ITC will use the NES recommendations to formulate a comprehensive trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) programme based on the priority areas identified by the country in coordination with other development partners. The NES will contribute to repositioning Myanmar exports on world markets and boosting export competitiveness. The TRTA programme will also strengthen private-sector competitiveness and attract Aid for Trade investment in priority export sectors.

Partnership between businesses and government

ITC is working with the Ministry of Commerce and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) to formulate the country’s export strategy. The project, launched in the beginning of the year at the request of the Government of Myanmar, is funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation.

ITC has been supporting the private sector in Myanmar since 1999 when it partnered with the UMFCCI as part of its regional South-South Trade Promotion Programme. The programme helped to establish new business contacts for small and medium-sized enterprises in Asian markets.