Further positive economic forecasts for Myanmar
18 Sep

Further positive economic forecasts for Myanmar

Forecasts for Myanmar’s continuing economic growth are backed with excellent trading figures in 2017 and now positive forecasts for 2018.

If you follow our blogs you will have read the positive news for The new Myanmar Investment Law and The Companies Act.

Changes are progressing and trading volumes will benefit even more once all the changes have come into force, scheduled for Autumn this year.

Prior to changes in trading regulations it was only Myanmar companies and those partnering with foreign companies that could trade overseas. All firms can now import or export within specified sectors – agricultural products (pesticides, seeds) and also equipment for the hospital and construction sectors.

Products are now categorised via the Harmonised System (HS) Classification of Goods. This makes trading easier and the allocation of tariffs. The classifications are standardised across all ASEAN member countries*.

Myanmar is party to a number of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) entered into between ASEAN on behalf of all member states and other nations. Preferential tariff rates apply to goods imported from these countries and a schedule of reductions over time has been agreed with a view to eventually eliminating tariffs altogether. You can easily see the tariffs by viewing the Myanmar Trade Portal and entering the commodity code or description.

International Laws are being introduced to bring Myanmar in-line with global trading guidelines that protect trading parties. This also levels the playing field for what was once a market heavily biased in favour of Myanmar domestic companies.

Our blogs have reported on the changes in regulations allowing more foreign investment in Myanmar. This rate of change continues to increase, giving further boosts to trading figures. These changes have also made it easier for companies to complete the stages for company incorporation in Myanmar. This assistance was the first service FocusCore provided when we opened in Myanmar in 2014. Since then we have added a wide range of corporate services to assist the expansion of our client companies. These include full bookkeeping services and most recently a staff pool available to work for your company, full time, immediately.

The Government in Myanmar calls for lifting of the remaining two USA financial sanctions.
28 Aug

The Government in Myanmar calls for lifting of the remaining two USA financial sanctions.

There are calls from Myanmar Government Ministers for the remaining sanctions in the USA Patriot Act to be lifted. For example, problems arise when Myanmar Embassies attempt to transfer funds back to Myanmar from their Embassies overseas. Mr U Kyaw Tin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs has highlighted these and other issues adding, “Currently, official remittance must go through an intermediary bank with a high and utterly wasteful cost. Removing Myanmar from the Patriot Act must be at the top of the agenda.”

You may have seen our blogs or elsewhere that most of the sanctions were lifted by President Obama, but sections 311 and 312 remain.

Mr U Kyaw Tin said, “To remove these barricades, Myanmar should liberalize financial policy, be more transparent and crackdown on illegal Hundi money transfers.”

(A Hundi is a financial instrument developed in India hundreds of years ago. They have been mentioned in our blogs before discussing trade and credit transactions. They are a form of remittance instrument to transfer money. There is still an estimated $5 billion sent annually to Myanmar).

Section 312 of the USA PATRIOT Act requires “certain U.S. financial institutions to apply due diligence to correspondent accounts maintained for certain foreign financial institutions”.

Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act “authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to require domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies to take certain special measures against foreign jurisdictions, foreign financial institutions, classes of international transactions, or types of accounts of primary money laundering concern”.

Mr. U Kyaw Tin is well placed to draw attention to these topics. He has served Myanmar in Europe and in the USA over many years. For example in September 2012 as the new Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Mr. Tin Kyaw presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr Kyaw was Myanmar’s Ambassador to Canada from March 2011. He was Chargé d’affaires at the Myanmar Embassy in Ottawa in 2005.

Today, Mr U Kyaw Tin is also The Deputy Minister for The Ministry of President’s Office.

FocusCore was established in Myanmar in 2014 to meet the startup and ongoing requirements of overseas companies seeking investment opportunities in Myanmar. As our name suggests, our core focus is to empower our clients and provide them with a roadmap to success by guiding them through the incorporation process while providing the visas, licenses and permits required to do business in Myanmar. FocusCore’s staff of seasoned local and international professionals specialize in finding the best fit for our customers’ product or service utilizing our in-depth knowledge of the Myanmar market and established network within the commercial and government sectors. We are convinced that the combination of our expertise and the innovative endeavors of our clients will provide a swift and seamless launch for their enterprise into Myanmar, the land of opportunity.

Contact us now to secure your place in this vibrant economy.

USA companies on track to grow investment in Myanmar
16 Aug

USA companies on track to grow investment in Myanmar

Since the removal of sanctions imposed by the USA, more American companies are keen to invest in Myanmar. This was confirmed by the US Ambassador to Myanmar, Mr Scot Marciel, when he recently attended a meeting with The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

He said the changes in Myanmar and the improving financial sector were all factors which are encouraging US firms to focus on Myanmar, adding that “the removal of US financial and trade sanctions on Myanmar could give the country’s various industries a boost, with American buyers expected to return to the investment landscape following a period of sluggish trading. Banking sector reform and liberalisations in the insurance sector will provide a significant boost to bilateral economic relations between Myanmar and the United States.”

You may have seen our earlier blogs on reforms in the Insurance sector. Now, state-owned Myanma Insurance have stated that changes will be announced by the end of August. A further positive sign also for foreign insurance companies seeking to operate in Myanmar.

When meeting the UMFCCI Mr Marciel added that he was keen to encourage further activity between Myanmar and the financial sector from the USA. He also confirmed his support for the Myanmar Government to accelerate further reforms and introduce an improved range of payments and currency transfer services.

The aims of the UMFCCI are many, notably they seek to accelerate the pace of economic development and act as a bridge between the State and the private sector. They are tasked with the objectives of leading the Myanmar business community into being a “globalized economy”.

We in FocusCore have already reported in our blogs on the spectacular and ongoing growth in the expanding Myanmar economy. Indeed, we are helping more and more companies establish their presence in Myanmar, providing our local knowledge and contacts, completing all the required steps for their company incorporation, and providing recruitment, compliance and bookkeeping services.

The UMFCCI continues to provide their valuable participation in trade fairs, exhibitions, EXPOs and shows for local and international companies. We in FocusCore look forward to seeing your company name on attendee lists. Contact us now and take the first step to participating in this vibrant economy.

Myanmar Investment Commission confirm priority areas to benefit foreign & local investors
10 Jul

Myanmar Investment Commission confirm priority areas to benefit foreign & local investors

New priority areas have been confirmed by the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) to encourage investors. There is a new priority list stipulating ten areas. Investors targeting these areas will receive a warm welcome and this applies to both Myanmar citizens and foreign nationals.

The recent MIC statement confirms that “both foreign investors and Myanmar citizen investors are welcome to invest in [the Priority] investment areas. The Myanmar Investment Commission and the Government of respective States and Regions will provide necessary assistance to investors”.

The Priority Areas are:-

Agriculture and its related services, value-added production of agricultural products
Livestock production, breeding and production of fishery products
Export promotion industries
Import substitution industries
Power sector
Logistic industries
Education services
Health care industry
Construction of affordable housing
Establishment of industrial estate (Industrial zone development)

This follows the new Myanmar Investment Law of October 2016, which received a seal of approval by the Cabinet in March of this year. This is a further significant and beneficial change for investors attracted by the growth in Myanmar. Furthermore, now that the new Investment Law is in place, new tax benefits are available for investors.

FocusCore opened in Myanmar to help companies join this expanding prosperous economy. Now, there are even more reasons for you to consider opening your company in Myanmar. We can assist with Company Incorporation, visas, staff provision, and a full range of corporate support services.

This is an ideal time to review your plans for Myanmar. Contact us now for a confidential discussion to learn how FocusCore can help you trade in Myanmar.

Unison Collaborative choose FocusCore to help set up a joint venture in Myanmar.
28 Jun

Unison Collaborative choose FocusCore to help set up a joint venture in Myanmar.

Products from Unison Collaborative are now available via a local source in Myanmar. FocusCore was chosen to help Unison Collaborative setup a joint venture in Myanmar for the import and distribution of their products across Myanmar.

These are pharmaceutical goods and related products. The trading name is UCM Biosciences Co., Ltd. Their address is Yaw Min Gyi Rd, Yangon. Unison Collaborative has its headquarter office in Singapore and branch offices in Malaysia and The Philippines. Unison Collaborative was established in 1977 with the aim of sourcing reliable, quality in-vitro diagnostic products and research tools for the clinical, industrial and research laboratories. Their mission is “To become the preferred provider of superior products and excellent service for the Life Science and Diagnostic industry”.

FocusCore has in the past written to private medical practitioners in Myanmar, addressing just part of the medical sector. We highlighted the huge foreign investment arriving in Myanmar, plus the increasing number of luxury condominiums and prestigious office towers being built and 5 star hotels and shopping malls – but recognising there are very few clinics in Myanmar – and an increasing number of foreign national and senior business staff.

If your company operates in the medical sector do contact us now to learn about the commercial opportunities in Myanmar. As you can see from the range of products from Unison Collaborative (listed below) this joint venture is going to provide a very wide range of leading solutions.

Myanmar continues to see growth with a wide series of large investment programmes across many sectors. FocusCore is active in accelerating this growth.

FocusCore opened its offices in Myanmar in 2014 and has witnessed, and continues to be closely involved with, many leading programmes of expansion following changes in national laws and policies.

Medical: Microbiology, Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics, Immunohistochemistry, Surgical Products, Allergy) Life Sciences Products: Cell culture, Next generation sequencing, Immunoassay, Substances, Tissue engineering, Protein engineering, Water microbiology, In-Vitro & In-Vivo delivery, Electrophoresis, Molecular Biology. Industrial and Veterinary: Immunoassay, Antibodies and antigens, Fluorescence antibodies, Control serum, Molecular Assays, Complement Fixation, Tube Agglutination, AGID, Reference Cultures, Sample collection. Food and Feed Safety: Dairy testing, Industrial contaminants, Microbiology, Toxins, Veterinary drugs. Forensic: Drug detection kit, Sample Collection Swabs & Applicators, DNA Collection Kit, Evidence Collection Kit. Custom Service: Bacteria serotyping, Bacteria serotyping training course, Primers, Peptides, Immunoassays, Next-Generation Sequencing Services.

First foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status. FocusCore chosen to obtain licences and Government approvals.
27 Jun

First foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status. FocusCore chosen to obtain licences and Government approvals.

WE DIT IT! Some time ago FocusCore received a call asking for help to obtain administrative licences and Government Approvals, to allow a new school to open in Mandalay. The Founder of this initiative is Nigel Martin, President, Road To Mandalay Education Foundation.

Nigel Martin – “I employed FocusCore, a private company that gets approvals for foreign companies to set up in Myanmar, a process of overwhelming complexity. (Myanmar is rated 170th most difficult countries to set up a business or charity). Eddy, an Englishman took on my quest and has provided the finest support through a wonderful and very competent lady called Nang Su, who has battled, researched and achieved a final successful outcome. Nang Su and I have worked for 6 months to gain NGO status and negotiate the signing of a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between our charity RTMEF and the Federal Government of Myanmar. This MOU basically provides the acceptance of our school and its goals and in return they own and administer the Education policy, which we must adhere to. This process has taken 12 months. There have been many emails from Nang Su outlining the complex process and our progress and now a final outcome….. our foundation is the first foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status…..although the final signage of the agreement is not completed at all levels of Government, we can proceed in opening the school. Furthermore I have also received this note,”The  DG (Director General of Myanmar is) is happy to support you with everything you need and he welcomes your eagerness with this charity as he is also from Mandalay”.

All of us in FocusCore are delighted. This is an incredible initiative. The school for the poorest families is in a picturesque region of Mandalay called Amurupura. The location of the school was chosen as it is in one of the main concentrations of poor families.

Most live near the many lakes of this region that flood every monsoon and force the families to abandon their homes and live on the higher ground, which are the on the sides of roads. Living in make shift tents for months until the waters subside and then they can return to their ‘homes’.  

The school is now completed, phase one, a kindergarten furnished with carpets and facilities that the children and their parents could only have dreamed of before Nigel started his work. Nigel has spent $80,000 to provide the finest school and environment that only well funded private schools in Mandalay could match.

Nigel adds, “What can we do but bring these children to school and do all we can to teach them, provide a safe learning caring environment and hope they can stay with us. The excitement on their faces as they see the ‘bus’ arrive every morning are memories I will always cherish and makes it all worthwhile. So I have graduated from teacher to bus driver.

Nang Su, the school Head Master and Nigel have completed many meetings with local officials. The school is called the ‘Light of Education Primary School’ and the authorities are grateful for all the efforts and will support Nigel “for a long into the future”. 

Now the most important news, the web site ‘roadtomandalay.org’ will be launched on June 10

Myanmar trading volumes reaches new records with the European Union.
26 May

Myanmar trading volumes reaches new records with the European Union.

The European Union operates a Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility. This is granted unilaterally to developing countries. This translates into special tariffs that has seen value of exports to the EU from Myanmar grow to over $800 million for the financial year 2016 – 2017. Reported figures for imports show a total value of $627 million for the same period. The Ministry of Commerce has also published figures showing total trade values of $1.4 billion, which includes trade from all countries including the EU. Trade was seen to grow more rapidly with the EU thanks to the GSP.

The GSP schemes offered by the various donor countries and their rules of origin differ fundamentally. Goods complying with the conditions of the GSP of the USA, for example, will not necessarily comply with the EU GSP. These GSP benefits have applied since 2013. In 2016 the USA also authorised special tariffs.

Annual figures from the EU indicate the leading countries in terms of annual volumes of trade are Germany and the UK. The products ordered being from the food production and wider agricultural sectors in Myanmar.

In 2015 the EU agreed a three-year development programme with Myanmar, to encourage trade between the two areas. This followed research that showed trading volumes were well below predicted values. The initiative has worked well.

The Myanmar Trade Development programme (TDP) was born, further signalling the re-emergence of Myanmar into world trade. The TDP is also aimed at enhancing sustainable economic growth, to raise standards of living and support inclusive development in Myanmar. The programme was implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in cooperation with the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce. The EU allocated 10.5 million Euros to the project, with 500,000 Euros from Germany.

Clearly with these initiatives trading volumes and demand are set to grow further. Both imports and exports enjoy confident and expanding markets.

FocusCore opened in Myanmar in 2014 to help companies establish a trading base in Myanmar. Our services assist with Myanmar Company Setup / Registration, Visa, Work Permit, Licence applications as well as on-going corporate support services ranging from bookkeeping to legal services to managed office space. Do not hesitate to contact us to learn how you can immediately start benefiting from your trading operations within this vibrant economy.

Flexible rules for overseas insurance companies in Myanmar.
17 Apr

Flexible rules for overseas insurance companies in Myanmar.

New rules have been announced relating to the funds required by an overseas insurance company, when operating in Myanmar. In the past, the capital fund required was set at $1 billion based on their operations in Myanmar. Although this figure remains unchanged, the insurer can now include the funding on their total operations, including figures from overseas. There has for some time been a call for change, due to what was seen as a high benchmark.

At present foreign insurance companies can only operate in the Special Economic Zones in Myanmar. In 2015 three insurance companies from Japan were awarded operational licences. More recently, reports have stated that further licence requests have been received from local and overseas insurance companies.

In October 2016, local sources disclosed that the government planned to open the market to foreign insurers during 2017. It was also said that the government planned to reduce restrictions on local firms, who until now have been required to offer only pre-defined products at standard prices. Furthermore, The Financial Regulation Department, under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, would present a ‘road map’ for insurance liberalisation.

Currently, insurance and insurance broking business must be conducted through either a company incorporated in Myanmar or a company established outside Myanmar with an established place of business in Myanmar.

Until 2013, Myanma Insurance was the sole insurer in Myanmar, and is the state-owned insurance company, founded in 1952. The Insurance Business Supervisory Board, which reports to the Ministry of Finance and Revenue, is responsible for licensing insurers, underwriting agents and insurance brokers. Myanma Insurance performs the work of the Supervisory Board.

There are reports that the Ministry of Planning and Finance will also introduce changes that would authorise foreign insurance companies to serve customers who are not within the Special Economic Zones. The Ministry is mandated “to formulate and implement effective monetary and financial policies to meet new political, economic, social, and other development objectives laid down by the State”. The ongoing growth in the Myanmar economy is leading to changes in rules for the insurance sector, together with an increasing demand for insurance services.

FocusCore helps companies start trading in Myanmar. We are not only capable of helping overseas companies fulfil the process of company incorporation and then operate in Myanmar, but also facilitate introductions to local and international companies already trading in Myanmar.

Myanmar Companies Act will become law before year end.
06 Apr

Myanmar Companies Act will become law before year end.

The Myanmar Companies Act will reform the regulation of companies, encourage more investment from overseas, and authorise foreign investors to purchase shares on The Yangon Stock Exchange. It is expected that The Act will become law before the end of the year, as confirmed by Mr. U Aung Naing Oo, Director General of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

The Myanmar Companies Act (formerly the Burma Companies Act) was enacted in 1914 and has served as the legal foundation for incorporated business in Myanmar.

The new Act will provide many benefits together with strong incentives to encourage further foreign investment in Myanmar.

Investors from overseas will be able to take up to 35% equity in a Myanmar company and the company will retain its classification as a Myanmar Company. Currently, any overseas equity investment changes the company status to that of “foreign ownership”.

It is expected that the figure of 35% could well go higher and act as a further catalyst for more foreign investment as the economy grows. Overseas Investors will also be authorised to purchase shares listed on The Yangon Stock Exchange. New funds arriving from overseas will add liquidity – take note – this could make share prices soar.

We meet many companies seeking to establish a new entity in Myanmar or join forces with an existing company. It is vital you follow the correct procedures for company incorporation, with the legal framework best suited to your needs. You must also obtain staff visas, stay permits and of course office space and all the items needed to operate as quickly as possible. We can help you with all of these requirements. We also provide a wide range of ongoing corporate support services.

If you are in hurry to get trading, we can provide you with staff, who are immediately available and on our payroll. They would be 100% dedicated to your commercial operations.

As the Myanmar economy grows and widens, more demand is being recorded for products and services across all sectors. Call us now to discuss how you can start trading in Myanmar today.

In summary these are the types of companies in Myanmar:

Sole proprietorships
Joint ventures between local and foreign business partners
Joint ventures with relevant Government departments and organisations
Local branches of foreign companies

Part of the FocusCore assist and support service helps you apply with the legal framework for:-

Incorporation and registration of company
Company management
Financial reporting and audit requirements
Share allocation and capital raising
Appointment of Board of Directors
General meetings and other procedures

Myanmar Contract Staffing and Payroll Services
16 Mar

Myanmar Contract Staffing and Payroll Services

Contract Staffing and Payroll Services are now a very popular solution in Myanmar.

Why companies are choosing FocusCore and MyWorld Careers in Myanmar.

The staff are hired by MyWorld, through FocusCore paid and insured by MyWorld. MyWorld employ them, everything is covered. Benefits for the client company are huge. Many international companies do not have corporate entities in this region but there is customer demand for their products and services. By using FocusCore & MyWorld, an immediate solution, the overseas company can respond to customers and immediately start operating in Myanmar.

As you may know FocusCore also helps companies complete the process for Company Incorporation in Myanmar. There are many steps to complete and of course these take time. But now there is a growing trend. This is hardly a surprise – a company wants to be first in the market, the first mover, to get into the market early – without the worry of setting up an office and obtaining licences. With FocusCore they can, by outsourcing their staff requirements.

FocusCore is an international third party manpower solution provider. Ever since Myanmar opened to more trade, companies are leveraging on FocusCore to gain a quicker entry into the Myanmar markets.

We provide a platform; we hire their employees directly, on their behalf, and place them into the roles as required.

The staff can be national or international. If they are foreign nationals we will be ready as soon as they arrive to cover all the required registration procedures, from insurance to visas, then payment of salary, corporate tax and social security contributions. This is our payroll and contracting service. For Myanmar nationals, they will already be registered in Myanmar with The Social Security Board (SSB). This administers Myanmar’s social security programmes, including benefits and contributions.

If a company wants to start operating in Myanmar they can, now, via FocusCore. We are client driven, we can supply staff tailored to a company’s requirements.

Companies who have planned to grow in Myanmar but are tied down by the timescales of incorporation can use our solution and enter the market very quickly. (If you require permanent staff, MyWorld has an extensive database of 20,000 profiles of bilingual Burmese talented candidates. MyWorld is Myanmar’s fasting growing recruitment company. They can complete a search of their databases and submit to you the candidates suitable for placement in your company).

The FocusCore contract staff and payroll services cover employee on-boarding, registration with the local tax offices, together with calculation and payment of social security payments and salaries. Payments can be made locally and offshore. The entire process is managed by FocusCore.

As far as we are aware FocusCore is the only company providing this service in Myanmar. The service is steadily growing. We can support many sectors and industries – technology, banking, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and more.

You may already know the skills that you need for your operation in Myanmar. We can find suitable people for you now, take them onto our payroll and they are available for you to start operations in Myanmar.

So to sum up……Contract Staffing and Payroll Services

• The staff are ’employed’ by us and work for you.
• We pay the wages and corporate taxes and social charges.
• We complete recruitment and selection processes for you and find the necessary expertise and resources – we manage the employment processes.
• We answer instantly your company needs – you do not have the expenses of hiring and terminating.
• Reduce your admin! We take care of all the required paperwork when hiring employees, so reducing the demand on your resources and saving you an enormous amount of time AND you start operating in Myanmar immediately.
• We screen applicants, complete reference checks, administer payroll and tax and social charges, payroll tax, public liability and professional indemnity.

Globally, employment laws are getting more and more complicated. Let FocusCore & MyWorld find, hire and pay the staff so you can start your company in Myanmar today. Please contact us today to find out more.