Daily Archives: August 16, 2012

10 things to watch in Myanmar’s Politics of Economic Reform

The International Crisis Group’s recent report on Myanmar, “Myanmar: The Politics of Economic Reform”, provides more good overview material for those of you seriously considering entering this market. It’s fairly brief and I highly recommend downloading it and reading it in its entirety—you can basically finish this while waiting to board a flight. But if you’re too pressed for time, these are the main new ideas I took away from it:

1. Mind the export structure—this is an economy that is still very agrarian:

In fiscal 1938, four commodities – rice, minerals, timber and other agricultural products – accounted for nearly three quarters of the total. In the decade from 1990 to 1999, the picture was similar, with the same four commodities accounting for over 70 per cent by value (including border trade). After 1999, garments briefly became the top export item (30 per cent), until U.S. sanctions imposed in 2003 caused a major decline in the garment industry. The other significant recent change has been natural gas, which became the top export item in fiscal 2001 and has accounted for up to 40 per cent of the total in recent years.
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