Labour issues biggest challenge for foreign investors: UMFCCI president

LOCAL labour issues pose the biggest challenge to foreign investment in the country, said U Zaw Min Win, the President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
“The amount of foreign investment entering Myanmar was not as much as we expected. Foreign direct investment of only US$4.5 billion flowed into the country. It did not reach the target of $5.8 billion. We have found several obstacles to investment, including lack of basic infrastructure, certain impediments to growth of existing businesses, and restrictions on land acquisition by foreign- ers, in spite of relief measures to boost investment. The is- sue of labour poses the biggest challenge to investment,” said U Zaw Min Win.
“To tackle labour issues, we would like to suggest the formation of a special unit that would include officials from the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Ministry of Commerce, Minis- try of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, and regional and state governments, and entrepreneurs,” he said.
“Hopefully, this group can deal with the current labour issues, especially in CMP enterprises. Labour issues in garment and footwear factories lead to shutdown of business operations. When we met with China’s Economic Counsellor, the Counsellor mentioned that some buyers from EU countries are hesitant due to labour issues and closure of factories and asked us to handle this in an effective way,” added U Zaw Min Win.
Foreign investors have shown a keen interest in investing in Myanmar, and they have pointed out that the enforcement of the labour law is important, he said.
Of late, there have been a series of conflicts between employees and employers in Myanmar.
Therefore, foreign countries are signing bilateral investment treaties with trade partners in order to strengthen mutual trust and promote and protect investments. Myanmar has signed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with 13 countries, including the Philippines, VietNam, China, Laos, Kuwait, Thailand, India, Japan, Indonesia, the US, the Republic of Korea, Israel, and Singapore.
Myanmar is also negotiating a Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreement with Hong Kong, and it is expected to be signed soon, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

Source: Global New Light Of Myanmar

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