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Government Relieves Restrictions on Foreign Joint Ventures

Ministry of Commerce announced that foreign joint venture (JV) companies are now permitted to import and resell four kinds of goods; fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and medical equipments. This is a move to relax the government’s prohibition on foreign ownership in the distribution sector. To be compatible with international trade rules and due to the increasing economic development, foreign JV companies will now be allowed to import these goods. Previously, even though these JVs they could operate service businesses in Myanmar, they were not allowed to import these goods. Myint Cho, Director of Trade Promotion Department, Ministry of Commerce said, “We have already allowed some items for agricultural sector and hospital supplies. But, giant agricultural machineries are not included in the allowed lists.”Although foreign investments in various sectors in Myanmar are increasing, those in agricultural sector are still relatively low. Depending on the requirements of local market and businesses, the allowed import goods lists for foreign JV companies will likely be upgraded and changed.

Government Invested $10 Million to Upgrade Airports

Han Sein, Deputy Minister of Transport said in a parliamentary announcement that from fiscal year 2010-11 to 2014-15, the government has spent 13 billion kyats (U$ 10 million) for the upgrade of domestic airports. A total of 33 airports have been upgraded and state-owned airline Myanmar National Airways (MNAs) has also been reformed by expanding and flying to more domestic and foreign destinations. The Ministry of Transport is currently studying the feasibility of a light rail transit (LRT) from Yangon to the proposed Hanthawady International Airport in Bago, approximately 70 kilometres from the country’s commercial hub.

Road Transport Administration Department (RTAD) Set to Allow Left-Hand-Drive Models Only

RTAD set the new import rules for 2016 to allow the imports left-hand-drive models only. According to announcement on December 19, dealers could import private cars, trucks and buses manufactured between 2006 and 2013 under the “clunker program”, in which they trade in an older model. But all other categories of vehicles imported will have to be manufactured no earlier than 2014. RTAD has set the new rule that importers of new vehicles can bring in only left-hand-drive vehicles, which are more suitable for right-hand-drive Myanmar roads. Soe Htun, President of Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers’ and Distributors’ Association said, “Restricting imported vehicles to left-hand-drive only will cut imports because left-hand-drive vehicles are more expensive and “slip price” that the fee charged for the document that must accompany “clunker” trades would also increase. Trucks that people want to buy are the right-hand-drive Japanese brands. Any left-hand-drive vehicles imported will be Chinese or Korean brands.”

President Thein Sein Met with Citic Group of China

President Thein Sein met with Chang Zheng Min, Chairman of Citic Group and his delegation at President Office on December 23. They discussed new ways of creating a new level of bilateral cooperation in maritime transport. The president was accompanied by Union Ministers Wunna Maung Lwin, Soe Thane and Zeyar Aung. The Chinese delegation was accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang