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Welcoming first visit and remarks by State Counsellor Suu Kyi - Myanmar Investment Conference -

October 2018

On October 8, welcoming State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, to the conference for the first time, JETRO jointly held the Myanmar Investment Conference in Tokyo with the Myanmar Embassy in Japan. The conference was also joined by Chairman Thaung Tun of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), Union Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin as well as numerous business people from the private sector. They made a passionate call to Japanese companies to invest in Myanmar. There were more than 300 people including from Japanese companies on the day of the conference.

In his opening remarks, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige mentioned that FDI from Japan to Myanmar in 2017 reached a record high of 1,478 million US$ (*1) and that membership in the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Myanmar (JCCM) has increased by more than four times in about five years to 384 companies (*2). Touching on the fact that actual business by Japanese companies in Myanmar has been dramatically changing, he emphasized that Japan itself, once derided by the acronym “NATO” (“no action and talk only”), has been reborn as a new "NATO," standing for "now action and take opportunity."

VIPs Photo session

State Counsellor Suu Kyi stated that addressing the following challenges is important in order to realize sustainable development in Myanmar:

  1. Maintenance of domestic peace and national reconciliation
  2. Stable macroeconomic management
  3. Job creation and development of the private sector
  4. Cultivation of human resources in fields such as high-quality education and medical care
  5. Management of natural resources and protection of the natural environment

Stressing that numerous business opportunities lie in Myanmar, a country behind in terms of infrastructure development, she made reference to Chairman Ishige’s new definition of "NATO," citing his words "Now Action" to express that now is the best time to invest in her country. She stated in clear terms that her government will place the improvement of the domestic business environment as the highest priority with the aim of drawing more investment from Japan. In her own words, she also elaborated on the recent achievements of her government, including the comprehensive investment procedures made available through the Single Window System, and the establishment of the Myanmar Companies Online (MyCO) electronic registry system.

In addition, she mentioned that, starting October, Japanese visitors are exempt from visa requirements: "We welcome many more of our Japanese friends to Myanmar to help us in developing our country. I would like for you to come and see with your own eyes how greatly our country is thriving." Speaking on the topic of ethnic tensions in Rakhine State in the latter part of her speech, she reiterated her country’s determination to continue tackling the challenge toward realizing national reconciliation.

Following her, presentations were delivered by the three guest speakers. MIC Chairman Thaung Tun and Managing Director Kazufumi Tanaka of JETRO Yangon explained the current state of affairs on direct investment into Myanmar and trends of Japanese companies entering the country. CEO Tomoyasu Shimizu of the Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Limited (MJTD) illustrated how the development of Thilawa SEZ has been going forward.

(*1) Including the amount of investment into Thilawa SEZ via third countries
(*2) As of September 2018