Myanmar launches new export strategy

Myanmar launches new export strategy

YANGON - Myanmar has launched its first coordinated export strategy, aiming to spur growth in its vast rural economy, cut its dependence on hydrocarbon sales and boost shipments to Europe and the US

The plan, unveiled March 25, could speed up Myanmar's reintegration into the global economy after decades of isolation. The country's exports plummeted under Western sanctions.

Since the formation of a nominally civilian government in 2011, Myanmar has actively courted foreign investment; political reforms have led to the suspension of most Western sanctions and the restoration of foreign aid.

The new National Export Strategy aims to capitalise on these developments by focusing on seven key areas: rice, beans and pulses, forestry products, fish and crustaceans, rubber, textiles and garments, and tourism. The country will focus on increasing exports to the US and Europe. The strategy also includes measures to help the private sector benefit from the changes by improving the competitiveness of small and medium-size enterprises and their access to better financing.

Myanmar's export industries have significant growth potential. In 2012, overseas sales made up just 10 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with around 70 per cent for similar-sized neighbours Thailand and Vietnam, according to World Bank data.

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