Myanmar deposited its instrument of accession to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards ("Convention") with the Secretary General of the United Nations on 16 April 2013. The Convention took effect on 15 July 2013.
With the coming into operation of the Convention, foreign investors in Myanmar now have the option to use neutral arbitration forums outside Myanmar to resolve contractual disputes that may arise between them and their Myanmar counterparts. They will also be able to enforce international arbitration awards against assets and properties located in Myanmar.
Myanmar's decision to accede to the Convention is a welcome step towards opening up to the arbitration community and laying down a more transparent dispute resolution mechanism in the country. The domestic laws to bring the Convention into force have not been passed by the legislature yet, although this is anticipated to take place within the next few months. Although it remains to be seen how the provisions of the Convention will be incorporated into domestic law, and how the judiciary will deal with enforcement actions, Myanmar’s accession will offer some comfort to foreign parties looking to explore business opportunities in the country.