Trade reform must benefit all: World Bank


NAY PYI TAW — Myanmar’s international trade still lags well behind its neighbours despite runaway growth in the last five years, and a comprehensive overhaul of existing trade regulations is needed to stimulate economic development, the World Bank said this week.

At the launch of its Diagnostic Trade Integration Study on Monday, officials from the World Bank said Myanmar also needed to take steps to ensure wealth generated from any trade boost was shared more equally in order to reinforce the country’s recent transition to civilian rule.

“Myanmar needs to bring about further reform to integrate into the global economy,” said Sjamsu Rahardja, the bank’s senior economist, and the study’s launch in Nay Pyi Taw. “The government needs to give financial support to small and medium enterprises. Trade promotion must be connected to the internal peace-building process so that all the people of the country to be able to enjoy the benefit of an improved economy.”

The study has advised the Union government to maintain “the momentum of the reform agenda” by simplifying import tariff rules, improving port and logistics efficiency, and opening up more sectors of the economy to foreign direct investment.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

It also recommended that the government encourages efforts to diversify the Myanmar economy by lowering the regulatory burden for light manufacturing enterprises and service industries such as tourism. Along with reforms to the agricultural sector and investment in vital transport links, such an approach would drive a dramatic reduction in poverty rates, the DTIS report said.

Daw Khaing Khaing Nwae, joint general secretary of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the report had been compiled after an extensive study of every sector of the economy, and was a valuable prescription for ensuring future economic prosperity was shared across Myanmar.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar