Myanmar launched its first coordinated strategy to exports, the aim of which is to promote the growth of its vast rural economy, cut its dependence on the sale of hydrocarbons and to increase deliveries to Europe and the United States. The plan, presented on 25 March could accelerate a return to the world economy of Myanmar for decades of isolation. The country exports have fallen under Western sanctions.
Since the formation of the nominally civilian government, in 2011, Myanmar has actively courted foreign investment; political reforms led to the suspension of most Western sanctions and restore foreign aid.
The new Myanmar export strategy aims to take advantage of this development, focusing on seven key areas: rice, beans and legumes, forest products, fish and seafood, rubber, textile and apparel industries, and tourism. March will focus on the growth of exports to the United States and Europe. The strategy also includes measures to help the private sector to benefit from change by improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized, and their access to more funding.
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Myanmar’s export industry has significant growth potential. In 2012, sales abroad accounted for only 10% of GDP, compared to about 70% of the neighbors of the same size in Thailand and Vietnam, according to World Bank data.
Country uses only 15% of its export potential for the five-year 2010, according to a document prepared in 2013 the Asian Development Bank. The report attributed the problem mainly in trade with the industrialized countries of the weak.
Currently, about 40% of foreign sales go to Myanmar to Thailand. For total exports of the February 28, 2015, a total of $ 10.1 billion. However, shipments to the United States amounted to only $ 93.4 million in 2014. In 2013, sales of the EU was 200 million euros ($ 215).
Export growth will also help combat the widening trade deficit. The current account deficit in Myanmar has risen to 7.1% of GDP in fiscal 2014, when the economy is growing sucked in imports, according to the Asia Development Bank. Bank expects economic growth will accelerate to 8.3% of fiscal 2015 to 7.7% last year. Growth is driven by structural reform program, the government and an improved business environment, the bank predicts.
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From a five-year road map for export, Trade Minister Win Myint said the government wants to diversify away from the gas, timber and beans, with two-thirds of the country’s exports.