On June 12, 2017, the Ministry of Commerce issued Notification 36/2017 to permit foreign-owned companies to trade and import fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, hospital equipment, and construction materials that are prescribed under the Myanmar Harmonized System (HS) commodity code. Previously, only local companies and local-foreign joint ventures were allowed to engage in such trade. The relaxation of restrictions is intended to obtain quality goods for the nation’s agricultural, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors.
In order to be permitted to trade and import such goods, including for retail or wholesale purposes, a foreign-owned company must meet the following requirements:
- Obtain a permit to trade from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA);
- Submit a bank statement, and Form 6 and Form 26 issued by DICA when applying for an importer/exporter registration certificate;
- Meet standards for imported goods set by relevant government agencies;
- Comply with existing laws, rules, and procedures when retailing or wholesaling goods; and
- Open a local bank account, and conduct transactions and trading using foreign currencies brought into Myanmar as working capital.
Notification 36/2017 allows foreign-owned companies to trade under the same laws, rules, and procedures as local companies. However, the list of goods that these companies are allowed to trade may be subject to changes based on domestic demand, market conditions, and the market positions of domestic companies. While changes are currently limited only to the agricultural, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors, the new law reflects the market liberalization trend aimed at promoting foreign investments in Myanmar.