Myanmar encourages Sri Lankan investments: Seven year tax holiday assured


Ambassador Han Thu, President, NCCSL, Asela De Liveira, Ms. Chan Sa Mya, Ms. Hsu Ma Ma Hain, Deepal Nelson, Thilak Godamana and Bandula Dissanayake at the discussion. (Pic by Gamini Munasinghe)

By Steve Morrell

The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), in its regular program ‘Meet the Ambassador’, convened a discussion with the Ambassador for Myanmar in Sri Lanka, Han Thu last week.

The deliberations focused on business opportunities for Sri Lankan enterprises in Myanmar.

President, NCCSL, Asela De Liveira, introducing the Ambassador, said the meeting was convened to encourage businesses to invest in Myanmar. More importantly, as benefits for such investments were quite substantial.

At present, the Balance of Trade between both countries was unfavorable to Sri Lanka. This meant the US$ 78 million bilateral trade between both countries was more advantageous to Myanmar. In this backdrop, Sri Lankan businessmen should be encouraged to widen the scope of their transactions with Myanmar, he stressed.

He said that ancillary trade will further cement clear understanding between both countries for mutual benefit and expansion of possibilities.

Stemming from discussions convened on these lines by the NCCSL each month, tangible progress was made by local businesses investing in such countries. A clear example is Bangladesh, where consequent to similar discussions, trade with Dhaka has improved considerably.

Ms. Chan Sa Myaand Ms. Hsu Ma Ma Hein from the Myanmar Embassy in Colombo were also present.

Representing the NCCSL were Vice President, Deepal Nelson, CEO Bandula Dissanayake and past president Thilak Godamana.

Ambassador Han Thu, in his address to businessmen, said that Myanmar is a democratic county and has been so for the past 25 years.

Trade and Commerce now stands at US$ 6.6 billion. GDP witnessed growth over the past two years in Myanmar, styled a ‘fast growing country’.

Trade growth has continued with China and Vietnam, in addition to expansion with many other countries, including Australia and the UK, the envoy noted.

Investments are encouraged. Foreign ownership could be in partnership with local businesses to a maximum holding of 35 percent. The stock exchange was open to investments as well, he said.

He further said bilateral trade with China and India is also on a firm footing.

Responding to a question from the media, Ambassador Han Thu said Myanmar offer tax holidays ranging from seven to 10 years. At the end of this period, the tax regime is only 8% on profits. Funds in excess of this quantum can be transferred to the investor country.

Answering another question, he said the possibilities of visa–on-arrival is also considered, subject to online requests.

During one–on–one discussions with some business persons on the sidelines of the discussion, they confirmed business with Myanmar was quite simple and did not take long to get started.

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