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|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) met with Myanmar President U Win Myint last week|
During Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Myanmar last week, the two countries inked a fresh bilateral action programme for 2019-2024 on implementing the Vietnam-Myanmar Comprehensive Partnership, which “is an extremely important document as it directs the development of the partnership with an increasingly deeper and long-term vision,” said Luan Thuy Duong, Vietnam’s Ambassador to Myanmar.
Notably, the action programme has ushered in vast opportunities for Vietnam to boost investment in Myanmar across many new sectors.
The country’s leaders told PM Phuc that the Myanmar government agrees to import Vietnamese dragon fruit, and that it will also allow Vietnamese firms to implement in Myanmar initiatives on fibre optics, telecommunications infrastructure, and IT services in state agencies, social development, and e-government.
In addition, Myanmar will also allow Vietnamese businesses to conduct investment and business in its territory in projects involving oil and gas, infrastructure, and housing as well as export and production of building materials.
Furthermore, Myanmar has proposed the establishment of a Vietnamese industrial park in its territory, and this has received the thumbs-up from PM Phuc.
“Myanmar will be a key overseas investment market for Vietnamese enterprises in the near future,” he stated.
At present, Vietnamese investors have poured nearly $2.2 billion in Myanmar, making Vietnam the seventh-largest foreign investor in the country. These investors are found in a small number of sectors such as telecommunications, tourism, construction, and consumer goods.
Ambassador Duong said that over the past three years, the number of Vietnamese enterprises entering Myanmar for investment and business has doubled, from about 100 in 2016 to more than 200 now.
“Their presence can be found in different forms, such as joint ventures, wholly-Vietnamese-invested groups, representative offices, and other branches,” Duong said.
Many Vietnamese companies are operating at a high level in Myanmar, such as Viettel, BIDV, PetroVietnam, Song Da, and Hoang Anh Gia Lai. For example, Myanmar National Tele and Communications Co. Ltd., (Mytel), a joint venture between Viettel Global, Myanmar National Telecom Holding Plc., and Star High Plc., in 2017 received a licence to begin offering nationwide telecommunications services. Currently, Mytel has had a large network of eight million customers, accounting for 22 per cent of Myanmar’s telecommunications market share. It has become one of the telecommunications brand names with the highest growth in Myanmar. The country is now Viettel’s largest overseas market, with its population hovering just under 55 million.
Meanwhile, as of late 2019, BIDV’s branch in Myanmar has $120 million worth of assets and nearly 200 customers being organisations and enterprises. It has provided total loans of $50 million, with a profit of $1.5 million.
According to Duong, the Vietnamese Embassy to Myanmar has its own staff exclusively in charge of trade and investment issues. Besides that, it also has a Vietnamese business club in Myanmar. These have and will create many channels for Vietnamese businesses to come to Myanmar to seek information and partners, as well as conduct direct investment and business.
“Other new investment and business sectors are being boosted, including automobile manufacturing and assembly, production of farming items with high added value such as organic vegetables and fruits, and foodstuffs processed from agricultural products, as well as production of high-tech products such as smart TVs and smart homes,” Duong said.