A delegation of American companies recently met with the Myanmar government officials to further explore entering the Myanmar market.

“Last year, US companies just came to Myanmar, observed the conditions and went back. But, this year, companies start doing businesses,” said Anthony Nelson, director of US-ASEAN Business Council.

Nelson and Alexander Feldman, the president of the council, were speaking at a press conference held in Yangon July 10 following a meeting with the main stakeholders in Myanmar.

The council led a delegation of senior US business executives to Myanmar earlier this week, meeting with key leaders including President Thein Sein, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, and opposition leader and chairperson of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi.

“As US companies have a lot of due diligence to do, they tend to move slowly. But, other companies will also do the same thing with time. So, some rules and regulations concerned with foreign investment should be modified to create a favorable investment climate,” said Nelson.

“There’s a lot of opportunities in the financial services sector as the banking system opens up. There’s a lot of opportunities in telecom as the telecom law gets into place. There’s a lot of opportunities in consumer goods, a lot of opportunities in the agricultural sector and of course opportunities in electricity and power generation,” he said.

Nelson said Myanmar possesses “a pretty wide spectrum of possibilities.”

The business mission offered support for Myanmar’s continued economic reforms and discussed opportunities to support Myanmar’s 2014 ASEAN Chairmanship, as well as sharing US companies’ commitment to responsible investment and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, according to a press release.

The delegation was led by Mariano Vela, President of Unocal Myanmar Offshore, Ltd for Chevron and chair of the Council’s Myanmar Committee, and Feldman, president of council.

“As we conclude our second mission, many of our members, including The Coca-Cola Company, GE, GM, Ford, Deloitte, ACE, KPMG, Cisco, and others have made investments or opened distributorships and representative offices,” noted Feldman in the press release.

“There is the potential for much greater investment and engagement, and this mission is intended to lay the groundwork for continued cooperation with Myanmar’s government, businesses, and people to further improve the business environment and enhance the opportunities available to Myanmar’s people.”

On May 21, the US government and Myanmar signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to create a platform for cooperation on trade and investment between the two governments. The two governments will work together to identify initiatives that support the ongoing reform process and development activities that benefit the people of the country.

Although Myanmar presents opportunities and possibilities, US corporations and companies are still slow to make large investments. According to the data of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to only US$90 million for the first three months of 2013.

Link: http://mizzima.com/business/investment/9667-u-s-companies-slow-to-enter-myanmar-market