Friday, August 18, 2017

Mandalay, gateway to India, China: US firms

American corporate giants are looking at Mandalay as a gateway to economic powerhouses - like China and India - which are Myanmar’s next-door neighbours.

Delegates and local officials who attended the business meeting in Mandalay on May 25. Khin Su Wai / The Myanmar TimesDelegates and local officials who attended the business meeting in Mandalay on May 25. Khin Su Wai / The Myanmar Times

To pave the way for making this a reality, a high level business delegation led by the American Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (AMCHAM Myanmar), visited Mandalay and met with government officials.

Andrew Lee, a AMCHAM Myanmar Executive Committee member and Country Manager for GE said, “As the second largest city in Myanmar and with a population of over 1.2 million people, Mandalay is a strategic gateway between India, China and Thailand.

“This mission has allowed AMCHAM members to look at the business potential of Mandalay. It also provides an alternative to Yangon when considering the Myanmar marketplace”.

The visit on May 25 to 26, signals better ties between the two nations, U Kyaw Min, deputy chair of the Mandalay Region Commerce and Industry (MRCCI) told The Myanmar Times.

The meeting, among other matters, discussed opportunities for collaboration to encourage increased investment and trade with Mandalay.

U Kyaw Min said that while the lifting of sanctions by the US was good, he warned that the local businesses must be ready for these new business deals in order to receive investments.

The delegation comprising representatives from British American Tobacco, Capital Automotive, Coca-Cola, Four Rivers, General Electric, Global Technology Group, Han Golf Masters, Heil Trailer Asia, Heritage Capital Investment, KBZ Bank, Myan Shwe Pyi Tractors, Novotel Yangon Max, and the Thiha Group, held cordial talks on opening up opportunities.

U Kyaw Min said, “Since the civil government took over the state, our business organizations and community have held many meetings with international business delegations.

“But our entrepreneurs should be ready with their business plans, tax clearance papers and with the products that are of high quality. Otherwise, the meetings will not make sense.”

“For the long term, this trip is important. Currently, our products are not ready to be exported to the USA as it is a big country which has specific standards and criteria before accepting foreign products.

The delegation also met Mandalay Region Chief Minister, Dr Zaw Myint Maung.

The trip also resulted in the establishment of the Mandalay Advisory Council, a body comprising business and government representatives designed to develop Mandalay into an attractive destination for American investment.

Also included in the agenda was a business matching networking event in partnership with MRCCI and an exploration trip to Mandalay Myotha Industrial Park.