European and ASEAN Businessmen

By Virgilio DC Galvez

If the queue of European and ASEAN businessmen waiting to hand in their calling cards to a senior economic advisor to President Thein Sein was an indicator, it appeared to show high interest in doing business in Myanmar.

Winston Set Aung was one of two resource speakers from Myanmar at a special forum at the B2B meeting hosted by the European Chamber of Cambodia and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce on the last day of the ASEAN-EU Business Summit at the Hotel Sofitel.

“You name it, you can find it in Myanmar. The Myanmar economy needs to be developed,” he told the group of potential investors gathered at a function room a day after the by-elections in Myanmar where Aung San Suu Kyi and her party had won a sweeping victory.

“We hope all or most sanctions will go. It is time for EU (European Union) to play a role,” Winston Set Aung said.

The EU Council of Ministers are scheduled to hold a meeting on April 23 to decide on lifting of the sanctions after discussing the outcome of the by-elections which ASEAN leaders, who are here for their annual summit, have collectively hailed for being transparent, free and fair.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said said there was a “good chance the Council would take substantive action.”

Already, the Philippines has reiterated its call for the international community to “favourably consider the lifting of sanctions against Myanmar.”

“The election process opens Myanmar’s future prospects not only for political reform but consequently for the socio-economic liberalization and advancement of the whole country,” Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario said Tuesday.

Winston Set Aung pointed out that 80 percent of Myanmar’s total trade were shared by only three countries – China, India and Thailand.

After 49 years of hibernation, Myanmar is ready to do business with the world,” he said.

He said the vigorous reforms in the financial and economic sectors are in the pipeline and would be pursued in the next three years.

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