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Message of Myanmar

Message from the Consul-General on the 65th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
緬甸聯邦共和國駐香港及澳門總領事 Wai Lwin Than獻辭

It is my great pleasure to extend, on behalf of the Government and the people of Myanmar, my warmest greetings and best wishes to all the citizens of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, as well as the Myanmar citizens in Hong Kong and Macau on this auspicious occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

On this special day, I wish to take this opportunity to explain briefly about our beautiful country and its developments as well as business opportunities for Hong Kong investors.

Myanmar is strategically located on the west coast of the Indochina peninsular, while sharing its borders with the People’s Republic of China, Laos, Thailand, India and Bangladesh. It is a significant conduit for the movement of people and goods between China, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other South Asian states. Myanmar is homeland to eight major national races and more than a hundred ethnic groups. Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan are the eight major ethnic groups within Myanmar. The total population is over 60 million, of which 89% practice Buddhism while Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and animism are professed by others.

Myanmar was annexed in 1885 after three aggressive wars and became a British colony. All the national brethren struggled for the Independence with their union spirit, and Myanmar eventually regained her independence on January 4, 1948. Myanmar had practiced the one-party political system in 1962 with a centrally planned socialist economy for over 26 years until 1988, when the military government came into power, trying to replace it with the multiparty system and the market oriented economic system. The then Government initiated political reform process by implementing a “seven-step roadmap” and made efforts to maintain peace and stability while trying to achieve national reconciliation. Thus, a new chapter of Myanmar was created with the completion of the “seven-step roadmap” by holding the multi-party general elections in November 2010 according to the new Constitution, which was promulgated in 2008.

Consequently, the new constitutional Government was formed on March 31, 2011, headed by President U Thein Sein. Under the new civilian government, a series of political, economic, and social reforms are currently being undertaken at a rapid pace. The political transformation, with proper democratization in Myanmar, includes granting amnesty to political prisoners; formerly exiled political forces have come back with dignity. The successful convening of the 2012 by-elections in a fair and transparent manner, the abolition of media censorship, freedom of internet access, the establishment of workers' and employers' organizations and of National Human Rights Commission, the increased participation of the people and different political forces in the political process are also noteworthy events which have resulted from the reforms.

Democracy is now being fairly practiced and supported by three governmental powers - legislation, executive and judiciary. Our political legitimacy and its progress has earned international recognition, resulting in the relaxation of sanctions by the EU and the US and resumption of international assistance, while also facilitating economic transformation and paving the way for business opportunities.

Centralization has been reduced under the new market economic system, with the rights and powers entrusted to the governments of the Seven States and Seven Regions. To promote economic growth, the government has “opened the doors” of Myanmar, with reform measures taking place in the macro-economy. Financial and tax policies, trade, investment and industrial policy have been reviewed and amended. To create an Investor Friendly Environment, the procedures and notifications have been streamlined and simplified to remove bottlenecks. In order to attract more foreign investment, the new Foreign Investment Law was recently introduced. The Special Economic Zone Law and the Dawei Special Economic Zone Law have also been enacted.

At present, foreign investment in Myanmar, out of a total of (503) foreign enterprises in (12) sectors from (32) countries, is currently valued at over US$ 41.1 billion. The three leading sectors of foreign investment are electric power, oil and gas, and mining. Hong Kong is 3rd leading investor (after China and Thailand) in Myanmar, its investment comprising (15.53)% of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) flow. Investors from Hong Kong are currently investing in (41) projects, which includes the Mining, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, and Hotel and Services sectors. China stands as the largest investor in Myanmar, with its investment comprising (34.41)% of the total FDI in (36) projects. China is also the top trading partner of Myanmar, with the total trade between the two nations valued at US$ 5001 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

As Myanmar and People's Republic of China are neighbors, we have maintained long-standing close and cordial relationships. Myanmar and China formally established diplomatic relationships on June 8, 1950. The Myanmar Consulate office was opened in Hong Kong in July 1952, then headed by an Honorary Consul, and later upgraded to Consulate-General in December 1969. Since then, the Consulate-General in Hong Kong has played a major role in promoting trade, investment and mutual understanding between Myanmar and the Hong Kong SAR. Recent years has witnessed increasing visits of Hong Kong business delegations and tourists to Myanmar.

In this regard, I wish to invite all the citizens and business people from China, Hong Kong, and Macau to pay a visit to Myanmar and have a fresh look at how it stands in the region as the most promising treasure for potential investors. Starting from January 9, 2013, Dragonair will fly direct from Hong Kong to Yangon, which is the Business Capital of Myanmar, and will take less than three hours. I have no doubt that Myanmar will become a popular destination for tourists from China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Once again, I wish to extend my best wishes to everyone for the further strengthening of close ties between Myanmar and the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR, as well as the continued acceleration of trade and investment for our mutual benefits.

緬甸聯邦共和國駐香港及澳門總領事 Wai Lwin Than獻辭