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Business and Development in Myanmar

A Policy Handbook for Private Sector Development

image of Business and Development in Myanmar
This handbook is to provide policymakers, business communities, development organizations, and other interested parties with a thorough overview of the private sector environment in Myanmar today. It outlines the challenges faced by businesses, elaborates on the nature of the challenges and why they are significant, and offers a set of recommendations to improve in order to foster greater development of the private sector, and the country as a whole. It is important to note that much of the excitement surrounding Myanmar stems from its 2011 shift towards greater economic openness to the rest of the world. Moreover, the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community 2015 is also likely to have a tremendous impact on the private sector in Myanmar. Hopefully this publication can serve as a reference for those seeking such information, and it can provide a wide-ranging understanding of the private sector’s current situation and how to help provide it with an equally-promising future.

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Effective trade policies

The private sector’s development is strongly influenced by applicable trade policy, thus finding the right trade policy is vital for the private sector’s successful performance. Trade policy regulates the flows of goods and services produced by local businesses across the borders of different countries. Initially, trade policy was used as a tool to protect local producers from foreign goods and services by strictly regulating, or even forbidding, imports. But after World War II a less protectionist approach of international trade was adopted, giving rise to freer movement of goods and services. In 1947, 23 countries signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) aiming for freer trade among the member states. During the following years, the number of member states significantly increased, and more trade concessions were successfully negotiated. In 1995, countries decided to institutionalize these negotiations and founded the World Trade Organization (WTO). Currently, most of the countries worldwide are members of this organization, which demonstrates their preference to the policy of freer trade across borders.

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