Myanmar is emerging from decades of military rule, central planning and economic isolation as it implements political and economic reforms and, as a result, faces fewer international sanctions. The country has great potential for rapid development due to its vast natural resources, abundant labour force and geostrategic location. Capitalizing on these assets to achieve its goal requires well-implemented regulatory and institutional reform.
Myanmar holds considerable promise, for businesses both domestic and foreign, as well as for development practitioners, confident of seeing a rapid transformation in economic conditions and quality of life in general. Nevertheless, while the country has attracted substantial interest from around the world, there are still many gaps in knowledge. In-depth information about the conditions facing the private sector, as well as the perspectives of the various members of the private sector, is still in the process of being uncovered.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It provides information on and independent analyses of trends and developments in: (a) intra- and inter-regional trade in goods and services; (b) foreign direct investment; (c) trade facilitation measures; (d) trade policy measures; and (e) preferential trade policies and agreements.
During the past three decades, the development of highly integrated global value chains in which products are supplied, manufactured and distributed across national boundaries have created a new form of division of labour among Asian economies, especially in North-East and South-East Asia. The rapid growth of global value chains has dramatically changed production patterns, international trade and foreign direct investment in the region, with a notable expansion of intraregional trade through multiple border crossings of parts and components.
The present document is based on the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013 (henceforth the Report), which is the main substantive document prepared for the third session of the Committee on Trade and Investment. The Report comprises two parts. In the first part, there is a focus on trends and developments in trade in merchandise and commercial services, foreign direct investment flows, performance in trade facilitation, and reliance on preferential policies and trade agreements from an Asia-Pacific perspective.
ESCAP focuses on a number of areas of economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific. One of these is trade and investment – a vital engine for growth and integration. Recent decades have seen an enormous expansion in trade and investment flows in the Asia-Pacific region. Regional economies are increasingly part of global value chains. This has helped foster the economic dynamism that has lifted many from poverty and spread prosperity more widely. At the same time, however, too many individuals and communities remain excluded from the benefits of trade and investment.
Natural resources sectors such as mining, oil, gas, hydro, and forestry plantations are an integral component of most developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region, thereby making them attractive investment sectors for both transnational corporations (TNCs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Asia Pacific least developed countries attracted less than 1% of FDI inflows to the region, indicating strong growth potential.
Myanmar, which is one of the 13 least developed countries (LDCs) in Asia and the Pacific, is relatively rich in natural resources, has young workforce, and is close to the world’s most dynamic trading economies, including China and India. With an appropriate policy mix, improved business environment and a stable, but reformed political system, the country is expected to fulfill its considerable potential and move ahead with delivering on economic development.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division. It aims to deepen understanding of regional trends and developments in trade and investment; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies; and impacts of these policies on countries’ abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. APTIR 2012 focuses on trends and developments in the economies of Asia and the Pacific in their post-recovery from the 2008-2009 crisis and trade collapse.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including micro enterprises, have emerged as an engine of growth for most countries of Asia and the Pacific. Their contribution is well known particularly for increasing production, export and employment, and thus income generation. Above all, SMEs serve as a seed bed for enterprise development. Each country has evolved its own policy, institutional framework and support mechanism suiting its needs, stage of development, ethos, culture and understanding of SMEs role.