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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. Against this background, the central purpose of this policy handbook is to provide policymakers, business communities, development organizations, and other interested parties with a thorough overview of the private sector environment in Myanmar today. The publication outlines the challenges faced by businesses in Myanmar, elaborates on the nature of the challenges and why they are significant, and offers a set of recommendations to improve the business environment in order to foster greater development of the private sector, and indeed, the country as a whole. Undeniably, the internal economic conditions and business environment will play a key role in determining the private sector’s future. Additionally, however, it is important to note that much of the excitement surrounding Myanmar stems from its 2011 shift towards greater economic openness to the rest of the world. Moreover, the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community 2015 is also likely to have a tremendous impact on the private sector in Myanmar. As a result, this policy handbook puts a sizeable focus on discussing issues affecting trade and investment in goods and services. It is ESCAP’s hope that this publication can serve as a reference point for those seeking such information, and that the publication can provide a wide-ranging understanding of the private sector’s current situation and how to help provide it with an equally-promising future.

Trade, Investment and Innovation Division +66 2 288-1234 [email protected]