Myanmar to fully join AEC in 2018

Myanmar will only be able to join the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2018 since the country is yet to stand ready for a full integration, said the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

Local industries need to be enhanced to effectively deal with challenges from free flows of goods and labour once the AEC is formed in late 2015. It aims to integrate all the ASEAN member countries into a single market with over 600 million people.

Weak infrastructure, corruption and unskilled labour are hindering Myanmar from tapping opportunities to be brought by the AEC, said the UMFCCI. 

Myanmar’s enterprises will have change to assess the market with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$2.7 trillion and up to US$4.7 trillion in 2020.

With a determination to grasp opportunities from the AEC, the Myanmar Government has been implementing a number of policies and measures to fix shortcomings and weaknesses.

The 55 million-strong country has developed a new law on competition to ensure a fair and transparent market and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) via anti-monopoly.

The formation of the Myanmar Investment Committee (MIC) in 1994 and numerous investment promotion programmes with foreign countries have helped the country lure a large amount of foreign investment.

Myanmar has increased investment in improving infrastructure such as electricity, roads and telecom networks. It has also set up a border trade centre in Mae Hong Song province bordering Thailand in order to boost bilateral trade.