Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 9/10/2019
Myanmar is an emerging frontier market, strategically located in Southeast Asia between India and China.  The National League for Democracy (NLD)’s landslide victory in the November 2015 election was a major step forward for Myanmar’s political and economic future.  Recent legislation, such as the Foreign Investment Law and New Companies Law, among other economic reforms continue to advance the country’s economic development.

Myanmar or Burma – Which Name to Use?
Either name can be used to refer to the country, as the constitution does not mandate either name.  However, the Government of Myanmar only uses Myanmar; that name is featured on all official government letters and documents. 

U.S. – Myanmar Trade
The United States is the 6th largest source for imports for Myanmar.  U.S – Myanmar trade has increased dramatically since 2012.  The United States goods trade surplus, from as recently as 2015, has now turned into a sequence of deficit: $52 million in 2016, $155 million in 2017, $234 million in 2018. 

2019: U.S. trade in goods with Myanmar
NOTE: All figures are in millions of U.S. dollars on a nominal basis, not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.  Details may not equal totals due to rounding.  Table reflects only those months for which there was trade.
January 201922.845.7-23.0
February 201931.358.5-27.2
March 201923.763.139.4
April 201927.750.5-22.9
May 201921.763.0-41.4
TOTAL 2019 (YTD upto May)127.1280.9-153.8

Why Myanmar Now?

With a rich natural resources base, a population of 53 million, a young labor force and a prime geographic location with regional links to other member countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as China and India, Myanmar is the subject of great interest from the international business community.  With the termination of U.S. economic sanctions in 2016 and new economic reforms coming on line, now could be the right time for U.S. firms to consider Myanmar as a potential market.

Growing Economy
The World Bank projects economic growth will be 6.2 percent in FY 2018-2019 (a slight decrease in previous years’ projections).  Myanmar’s economic policy continues to emphasize the following: new opportunities for private sector participation, boosting job creation, development of three special economic zones (SEZs) and promoting foreign investment by welcoming foreign companies into the country for fair market competition to speed up and sustain economic growth.
Great Interest in U.S. Products

Given Myanmar’s five decades of isolation, there is a need for a wide array of product and services across multiple sectors.  U.S. products, brands and services are viewed favorably by Myanmar society and businesses.  The Commercial Service Myanmar is regularly approached by local companies actively seeking U.S. suppliers in various sectors.

First-Mover Advantage
As ASEAN’s poorest country, the Myanmar market tends to get overlooked.  While operating in Myanmar is challenging, one positive aspect is the market is not saturated.  There is not always strong competition across sectors.  Local knowledge and market positioning can be gained by early movers and can provide a significant competitive advantage.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.