GIVEN the rising interest in Myanmar’s economy this year, nearly 500 Thai businesspeople are expected to gather at the Myanmar Insight 2018 to be held in Bangkok next month, according to NattawinPhongsphetrarat, vice president of Thai Business Association of Myanmar (TBAM).
He said at a recent press conference that the event would be held on July 20 to raise awareness on the huge potential for increasing bilateral trade and investment. He believes it will provide a platform for Myanmar’s policy makers to share information on the nation’s economic policies, foreign investment laws and regulations.
“Thai businessmen who are doing business in Myanmar will also share their experiences and success stories with other businesses back home, so that prospective Thai investors can be well-prepared and inspired to enter the market,” he said.
Nattawin said the full-day event would include four panel discussions -macroeconomic view of Myanmar, investment opportunities in electricity and energy sector, trading and retail, as well as agriculture, fishery, and livestock sector.
In addition to those sectors, Nattawin sees much room for cooperation in other four sectors: infrastructure, manufacturing, telecommunications and tourism. At the event, Thai businesses will have the opportunity to actively discuss with nearly 50 officials from both countries, he said.
In a bid to share firsthand information about Myanmar’s business landscape with Thai businesses, TBAM frequently organises public events named Myanmar Update and Myanmar Talk. It also organised the Myanmar Insight seminar in 2015 and last year, Nattawin said.
Established in 1997, the association currently has over 240 member companies, 90 per cent of which are Thai firms. The majority of them are services, construction, trading, and distribution companies. Nattawin expects to enjoy 30 per cent growth in terms of membership this year.
At the media briefing, Jukr Boon-Long, Thai Ambassador to Myanmar, said the event would help Thai businesses to understand more about Myanmar to a large extent.
“Myanmar has great potential for Thai investors. Opportunities can be found not only in Yangon and Mandalay but in other parts of the country as well. Each State or region has its own characteristics and attractions,” he said.
The envoy encourages Thai businesses to invest in or trade with Myanmar, as it is the perfect timing.
“Over the past 70 years of our diplomatic relations, there have been ups and downs. But, we are now at the excellent stage of our relationship, in all dimensions including politics, technical cooperation especially trainings for Myanmar officials in many important areas such as health, education, banking, and development of small and medium enterprises,” he said. According to the envoy, big Thai companies such as PTTEP and SCG have been doing responsible business in Myanmar for many decades, setting up good examples for other Thai businesses that are eyeing the market.
“More and more Thai businesses want to do business in Myanmar. But they are also waiting for new laws and regulations. Infrastructure is still a challenge for them. And it is very important to have proper banking systems in place. Such things need to be taken into account,” he said.
“The most important thing is to find the right local partners because it is the key to success. If you find a wrong partner, then your business will collapse.”
Jukr said the event would help Thai businesses in this regard. He seems confident about better bilateral ties during the current government term. He believes high level visits reflect obvious improvements in the bilateral relations.
“This week, the Royal Thai Government very much looks forward to welcoming President Win Myint on his first official overseas visit to Thailand, before attending the 8th ACMECS Summit during June 14-16,” he said.
Prime Minister of Thailand has also invited Myanmar President to participate in the ACMECS CEO Forum so they can exchange views on economic policies with leading executives from ACMECS member countries.
According to Ambassador Jukr, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will receive Thai foreign minister in Nay Pyi Taw in August to further strengthen the bilateral ties.