Myanmar, EU to sign investment agreement

Myanmar will soon sign an investment protection agreement with the European Union to promote foreign investments, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

“The EU has begun to make investments in Myanmar. We have agreed with the EU on principle to sign an investment protection agreement. Soon, discussions will start. After signing the agreement, EU investments will flow into Myanmar. Currently, investments have come from France, Luxemburg and Switzerland,” said an official from the MIC.

Critics, however, point out that the government officials went against their previous words in their haste to sign investment agreements with the foreign countries, especially Japan and the EU.

In the seminar, “International and Regional Investment Agreements and their impacts on Myanmar’s Society and Natural Environment”, organized by the US-based Transnational Institute (TNI) on May 15, the officials and experts discussed that Myanmar should be discreet in signing investment agreements as there can be severe consequences when the country cannot meet the terms and conditions of the agreements. The experts warned that any breach of such contracts can end up in costly cases in international courts.

“It’s true that there are guidelines for international investment agreements. Not to stray from these guidelines is important. It is No. (1). The No. (2) is to make the other laws consistent with our constitutional rights. Before signing the investment, we have to look back at our country situations. For example, we signed an agreement with Japan. We did it after discussing for one and half years. We did negotiations. Above all, we think about the future consequences and current situations every time before we sign agreements,” said Aung Naing Oo, Director General of the MIC.

“In fact, investment protection agreements have both good and bad points. For example, having a bilateral investment protection agreement makes sure that the investors in the other countries have less risks to do business here. This will help to boost investments,” Aung Naing Oo added.

On his trip to Europe in 2012, President Thein Sein had also pledged to sign the investment agreement between Myanmar and the EU.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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