The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has moved one step closer to liberalizing its trade economy. On February 19, 2016, the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce issued Notification No. 11/2016, which lifted existing trade restrictions on foreign-owned joint venture companies that prevented them from trading in certain classes of goods relating to agribusiness and medical equipment.

With the removal of these trade restrictions, foreign-owned joint venture companies are now allowed to trade in the following classes of goods:

  1. Fertilizers
  2. Insemination seeds
  3. Pesticides
  4. Hospital equipment

The Notification also clarifies the process for foreign-owned joint venture companies to obtain permission to trade in these types of products. Foreign-owned joint venture companies interested in trading these goods may now apply for a trading permit issued by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. In addition, under the Notification, only foreign currency which has already been brought into Myanmar can be used to import the above goods.

The removal of trade restrictions in these industries represents new opportunity not only to expand in the region, but also to maintain direct control over all aspects of brand protection and the supply chain. Although this specific Notification is limited to just these four classes of goods, all foreign investors should view this as a significant development because foreign-owned companies previously faced restrictions in trade across most industries.