- ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley’s former home hits market for $65M
- Florida beach-goers told to beware flesh-eating bacteria in water
- Lundergan Grimes uses ‘war on women’ strategy to attack McConnell
- Rep. Jeff Miller: ‘Ain’t no leash for VA’
- Al Qaeda nets $125M from ransom payoffs from Europe since 2008
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich cruising to re-election: survey
- Landslide hits Indian village; 150 may be trapped
- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
Myanmar has investors waiting
Foreign companies ready to come in once nation finalizes business rules
Question of the Day
NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Once feared for its obstructionism, the Myanmar Investment Commission has put on a fresh, investor-friendly face, and its bureaucrats are scrambling to deal with a deluge of interest even as a proposed investment law creates considerable uncertainty about how foreign companies will be treated in this long-closed Southeast Asian nation.
The new foreign investment law envisions broad powers for the already overworked investment commission, restricts foreign investment in 11 poorly defined areas and requires local hiring, according to a copy of the widely misunderstood legislation obtained by the Associated Press.
Investors have criticized the legislation, which has been approved by parliament and awaits the president’s signature, as too vague.
Some fear it contains measures that will scare off much-needed foreign business.
Top officials from the investment commission have said the president is likely to send the law back to parliament for amendment, rather than sign it in its current form.
The Myanmar Investment Commission is housed in a pink concrete building down a narrow lane flanked by thick flowering bushes in the country’s outsized capital Naypyitaw that former military rulers ordered purpose built.
Tucked into dim offices on the ground floor, the commission is reinventing itself, as the country emerges from decades of isolation that plunged one of Asia’s most fertile and resource-rich countries into grinding poverty.
“We do not have enough staff,” said Kyaw Zaw Maung, a thin, smiling man who took over as director of the commission seven months ago.
He said his department is looking to hire 30 more people. Behind his desk a whiteboard scrawled with appointments – Coca-Cola, Daewoo – testifies to Myanmar’s rising star status among global investors.
The commission’s 20 employees sit at rows of wooden desks that face a large television snowy with static.
There are papers everywhere, in plastic baskets on desks, in cardboard boxes, and clamped in folders in bookshelves. There is one shared computer in the director’s office.
From April through August, the commission approved 21 foreign investments, up from 13 during all of last fiscal year. The increase in investor interest is likely to intensify, if the contentious new foreign investment law is passed in a form that is palatable to companies overseas.
The legislation is a cornerstone of the economic reforms Myanmar is rushing to enact in the wake of sweeping political change.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women's fitness tests
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world