Understanding that that the accelerated development of industries is crucial to becoming an industrialized modern nation, Myanmar formed the Myanmar Industries Association (MIA) in 1993 as an independent body representing the entire scope of trade, services and industries in the country. Highlighting the important role of the industry sector, MIA’s Secretary General U Aung Min discusses the Association’s goals, objectives and plan, as well as the sector’s potential.
European Times: What are MIA’s main objectives? What are some of the services provided by the Association?
U Aung Min: MIA’s main objectives are creating more employment opportunities by promoting new industries, improvement of productivity of private industries by simultaneously enhancing industrial standards and quality of products, as well as acceleration of the development of manufacturing and service industries in correspondence with the market-oriented economic system. Other priorities include the effective exploitation of natural resources by acquiring appropriate modern technology through research, innovation and transfer of technology, promotion and expansion of industrial exports, energy conservation and utilization of new energy resources, assisting private industrial enterprises in solving their problems on a self-help basis, assisting the establishment of industrial zones in order to provide necessary infrastructures and facilities for private sector investment, promoting and nurturing SMIs, etc. Our Association provides information on government trade policies, directives, import-export procedures, tax structure, tariff rates, procedures and incentives for investment in the manufacturing sector; infrastructure and other facilities such as availability of industrial land, electricity and utilities; current status of industries and opportunities in different sectors; marketing aspects and facilitation of projects; Dissemination of foreign trade information through MIA Newsletters and Trade Enquiry Bulletins; and enables gaining access to sources of business related information. Our Association has more than 5.000 members from all industries and branches; 60% of our members are small, 30% are medium, and 10% are large enterprises.
European Times: How would you describe Myanmar’s industry sector?
U Aung Min: With the new democratic government, Myanmar opened to the world and we started to develop the industry sector. Previously we used to think we are solely an agricultural country, but we have realized that our economy cannot grow solely on agriculture; we need to significantly develop the industry sector in order to move forward. MIA collaborates closely with the Ministry of Industry as well as the rest of the government, providing our sector specific knowledge, know-how and expertise on matters related to our sphere.
European Times: What are Myanmar’s advantages vis-à-vis its challenges when it comes to foreign investments?
U Aung Min: Myanmar has been an agricultural society for a long time, lacking behind Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore when it comes to technology. Foreign investments are crucial for our economy, because they bring technology, modern equipment and the relevant know-how. Myanmar has a large and cheap workforce, but investing in training centres are essential for capacity building and teaching skills.
European Times: What is your personal message?
U Aung Min: MIA’s main mission is to serve and support our people and our economy. I would like to invite all potential investors to visit Myanmar and contact our Association – we are eager to assist them in every business-related matter. We can assist them by providing proper information, connecting them with local businessmen or putting them in contact with associations from other sectors. Contact MIA and we will do our best to accommodate you!