Sunday, August 20, 2017

New hope for foreign investment as Myanmar signs Convention

In a move to encourage foreign investment, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw agreed to sign the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (New York Convention) on March 6, state-run media reported.

Approval in the parliament came after six lawmakers weighed the pros and cons of signing the Convention. Aung San Suu Kyi and other MPs also urged the signing of the Convention, saying it was a “prerequisite” to attract foreign investment, The New Light of Myanmar reported.

Suu Kyi, representing Kawhmu Constituency, said during the session: “To make the economy a success, it all depends on trust. No matter what legislation is enacted and no matter what agreement is signed, no potential investor would make an investment unless they have confidence in [the political] landscape of the country.”

Myanmar’s new Foreign Investment Law was promulgated in November 2012, replacing a previous law from 1988, in a bid to accelerate foreign investment to Myanmar in line with its new reforms. However, many foreign companies have shown reluctance to invest in Myanmar because of its lack of dispute resolution mechanisms, which were not put into place at the same time as the law.

On January 20, Ms Florence Grangerat, in charge of the Myanmar operations of Audier & Partners, a Vietnam-based international law firm providing legal services for global business and industry in South East Asia, told The Myanmar Times that the country “has to afford investors the means of protecting their rights and investments” to accelerate investment.

The New York Convention was signed on day six of the regular session of the first Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. A proposal submitted by the Judicial and Legal Affairs Committee to amend Myanmar’s arbitration framework was approved on March 8, 2012 that indicated Myanmar would accede to the New York Convention; however, the time frame was never disclosed.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) shows that 148 out of UN member countries have signed the Convention.