Myanmar draft investment law approved
- Published: 8 Sep 2012 at 15.02
- Online news:
YANGON: Myanmar's parliament has approved a new draft foreign investment law aimed at opening the country up to capital and job creation, legislators confirmed on Saturday.
Garment workers rally outside the district labour office in Mayangone township in Yangon on Friday. The workers from the Myue and Sue garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar Industrial zone are striking for better wages, labour rights, health insurance, and an end to discrimination in the workplace. EPA The final draft dropped a controversial clause requiring foreign investors to invest a minimum of US$5 million, said lower house legislator Thein Nyunt."Now there is no minimum investment amount," he said.It also increases the maximum foreign shareholding in 13 sectors considered sensitive, including manufacturing, farming, agriculture and fisheries, to 50% from 49% proposed earlier.There were unconfirmed reports that in some sectors where Myanmar is deficient, such as high technology, foreign investment could be up to 100%.The law was passed on Friday, the final day of the lower house session. It now goes to President Thein Sein, who can sign it into law or send it back to legislators for more changes when the next session begins next month.The president is expected to approve the law as he was known to have been unhappy with earlier attempts to place too many curbs on investment.Full details of the draft were not available. Early indications are that it establishes a middle ground between the views of reformers seeking rapid change, and the more conservative legislators and local business leaders who fear foreign firms could come to dominate the economy.Than Maung, a lawyer who sits on a parliamentary legal affairs commission, said disagreement over the law in recent weeks had highlighted the dilemma of choosing protectionism or an open economy."We shouldn't be too afraid of foreign investors. Every country in the world is protectionist to some degree," he said.Economists and some officials had criticised the earlier $5-million minimum investment amount as likely to scare away the small and medium-sized companies that the country desperately needs to create jobs.There are an...
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