Government Banned Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
Ministry of Commerce issued notification (46/2018) ordered to cease Multi-level Marketing (ML) operations all over the country on September 18. The order came into action from the date of issue. Those who are still operating MLM businesses after this date could be punished under the Essential Supplies and Service Law. This move came after the barrage of negative comments by the public against MLM firms. From 2009 to 2011, the government took action against MLM firms by seizing assets, arresting leaders or putting companies on a blacklist under the infamous 1950 Emergency Provisions Act. The year 2017 was the hardest for MLM firms in Myanmar because anti-MLM activists came out and pointed out the negative points and the frauds of MLM firms on social media. Myanmar has no specific laws for MLM and most of the people including government officials are pessimistic about MLM.
In 2017, Myanmar President’s Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the Bureau of Special Investigation (BSI) to investigate MLM firms in Myanmar after receiving reports of fraud from the public. In January 2018, the BSI announced that MLM firms take advantage of investors and that it was investigating those currently operating in the country.
Myanmar and China to further Promote Bilateral Cooperation
Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, Ding Zhongli visited Myanmar on September 16 at the invitation of Myanmar’s House of Representatives.
Ding met with Myint Swe, Vice president of Myanmar at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw and discussed promoting friendly relations between Myanmar and China and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in economic, education, tourism and environmental sectors.
Ding said, “China’s National People’s Congress is willing to work with Myanmar’s Union Parliament to actively implement the consensus reached by the two leaders and take Belt and Road cooperation as an opportunity to enhance friendly cooperation.” Ding called on the two sides to provide legal and policy assurance for the long-term, healthy and steady development of China-Myanmar relations and push the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new stage.
Ding also held talks with Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein at the office of Yangon Region Government on September 18 and discussed Yangon City’s development.
Myanmar-Indonesia Bilateral Trade to Increase by 31 percent
Bilateral trade between Myanmar and Indonesia is expected to reach $1 billion this year, increasing by 31 percent, said Indonesian Ambassador, Uza Fadri at Indonesia-Myanmar Business Matching held on September 17.
“In 2017, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Indonesia reached over $973 million. Indonesia will continue to encourage state-owned and private companies to invest in Myanmar”, he added. “Bilateral trade between Myanmar and Indonesia has increased. Among ASEAN countries, Indonesia is the largest and the most populous country. However, Myanmar’s export volume to Indonesia is less than the import volume. Myanmar needs to learn the needs of their market situation. The main challenge for developing countries is supply constraints,” said Aung Soe, director general of Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.
“The new government has emphasized on private sector development and encouraged public-private partnership”, he added. According to Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar-Indonesia trade was $741 million in 2015-2016 financial year.