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: 11/29/2018
Myanmar is an exciting, emerging 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 in 2017 continue to advance the country’s economic development.

Myanmar or Burma – Which Name to Use?
State Counsellor, de facto state leader, Aung San Suu Kyi is on record telling the foreign diplomatic community that they could use either name to refer to the country, as the constitution does not mandate either name.  However, she said the government will only use Myanmar and that name will feature on all official government letters and documentation. 

U.S. – Myanmar Trade
The United States is the 6th largest source for imports for Myanmar with a market share of 1.4% in 2016.  U.S – Myanmar trade has increased five-fold since 2012; American brands are becoming increasingly popular.  The United States enjoyed a goods trade surplus of $83 million with Myanmar in 2015, but is now experiencing a growing trade deficit: $52 million in 2016 and $155 million in 2017.  In 2018, this trend continues:

2018: U.S. trade in goods with Burma
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.
MonthExportsImportsBalance
January 201819.032.9-13.9
February 201819.431.9-12.5
March 201827.927.80.1
April 201824.738.2-13.6
TOTAL 201890.9130.9-40.0
 
Why Myanmar Now?
Right Time, Right Place
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 is the right time for U.S. firms to consider Myanmar as a potential market.

Growing Economy
The World Bank projects economic growth will be 6.4% in FY 2017-2018 and medium-term growth is projected to average 6.9% per year while the IMF forecasts GDP growth of 6.7% for FY 2017-2018 and 7.5% for medium-term growth.
The Myanmar 12-point Economic Policy emphasizes 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
Myanmar's market presents U.S. companies with unique opportunities and potentially significant gains, but requires patience and persistence.  Local knowledge gained by early movers could prove to be an invaluable competitive advantage.  As the saying goes - if you wait for a perfect market, you will also face perfect competition. 
 

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.



Burma Trade Development and Promotion