Business / Trade


Advocacy group pushes for solution to migrant workers’ plight
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One of them has helped reforest environmentally threatened regions and donated money to assist children with Down syndrome. A portion of every ticket his airline sells goes to social welfare organizations. And when Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar in 2008, his foundation contributed more than $8 million to rebuild schools, hospitals, and monasteries.
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Companies will soon find out how much oil and gas there really is offshore
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Long-awaited news on which foreign energy companies have been given rights to explore offshore Myanmar reads like a who’s who of the oil and gas industry, but with a very noticeable exception.
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Between 2000 and 2013, Burma’s rich forests were decimated through authorized logging as well as a massive illegal timber trade that saw 22.8 million cubic meters of wood with an estimated total value of US$8 billion leave the country, a new report says. (more…)

Activists in Burma’s commercial capital plan to hold a candle-lit protest against an electricity price increase due to take effect April 1, with demonstrators planning to stage the action in front of City Hall on Wednesday night.
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Nearly a thousand Burmese migrant workers staged a rally outside their garment factory in northern Thailand, calling for improved labour rights.
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International oil majors including Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, ConocoPhillips and Total won rights to explore for oil and gas off Myanmar, according to the Southeast Asian country’s Ministry of Energy.
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It is still home to some of the most pristine forests in Southeast Asia. But forest experts warn that Myanmar is fast losing its woodlands due to a combination of commercial logging, agricultural expansion and firewood harvesting.
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The news website the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reports that new building work will not be authorised while the government hopes to achieve World Heritage status for the site from UNESCO.
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In the final three quarters of 2013, export earnings from Myanmar’s jade trade reached $920 million—up more than a third from a year earlier—according to newly released figures from the country’s Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
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Myanmar-focused conglomerate Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd said Southeast Asia needs to work exceptionally hard to realise a balanced, European Union-style integration of such disparate economies.
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About 100 people have begun a march of about 1,200kilometres (750 miles) from Yangon to the site of the controversial Myitsone Dam in Kachin State to demand that the project be cancelled.
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Myanmar’s economic transformation is ineffective because it lacks a specific focus and is being implemented too quickly, the head of the presidential economic advisory team, Dr U Myint, said on March 19.
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Unlike construction of its new Hanthawaddy Airport, Myanmar’s first stock exchange in more than 50 years, the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSE), is mostly on track for the planned 2015 launch, despite a few major obstacles.
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The Burma government has agreed to seek a concessional loan worth as much as US$750 million to go toward the cost of a new airport to serve Rangoon, officials said Monday.
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Last week, Parliament approved a government proposal to introduce a long-expected hike in electricity prices per April 1. Business sector representatives now warn that the measures will undercut the competiveness of Burmese industries and lead to a rise consumer prices.
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The massive Dawei project has taken a new twist, as no interested bidders have applied for concessions opened in February for three jobs: a dual-lane highway linking Thailand with the site in eastern Burma, a small port, and a 30,000-rai industrial estate.
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Yangon. Myanmar will ban the export of raw timber logs from April 1, choking off profits in a sector that provided critical funding to the country’s former military rulers for decades, as a new reformist government steps up efforts to save forests.
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Burma’s Parliament on Monday passed the Union Taxation Law, which allows lawmakers to amend the government’s annual tax plans. A proposal by an opposition lawmaker to sharply increase duties on alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes was dropped from the new law.
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