Thursday, August 17, 2017

New govt changes import/export licence system

March 30 was a historic day for Myanmar – it marked the dissolution of the State Peace and Development Council and heralded the start of a new, democratically elected government.

Important changes have taken place in the business realm too that have coincided with the change in government.

Chief among these is the process of applying for an import/export permit, which previously required the permission of the Trade Council before being granted, a Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) official said last week.

Now the Ministry of Commerce alone will grant these licences, he said.

“This will speed up the application process,” he said.

UMFCCI officials were briefed on the changes by the Minister of Commerce, U Win Myint, on April 9, just before the federation selected its new central executive committee.

The previous five-step application process took at least eight days but would often take one month or longer, said one businessman.

He added that many businesspeople hired agents to handle the application procedure because it was faster and more convenient.

“The new system should make the whole process much faster,” he said.

He also said that the lengthy process of getting import licenses could result in unrecorded trade.

Dr Myat Nyana Soe, an Amyotha Hluttaw representative from the National Democratic Force (NDF), welcomed the move to abolish the Trade Council.

“This is an important step towards [the creation of] a true and vibrant market economy,” he said.

Another economic change is the opening up of the palm oil market. At present, Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd has a monopoly on the lucrative import of palm oil but the UMFCCI official said the ministry is accepting applications from other parties to import this commodity.