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Spire comments on the easing of US sanctions on Myanmar

9 April 2012
Channel NewsAsia

Spire comments on the easing of US sanctions on Myanmar

The U.S. is beginning to ease sanctions on Myanmar. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. would consider further steps if the pace of reform in Myanmar was maintained following the by-election victory by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her allies. Leon Perera, Chief Executive Officer of Spire Research and Consulting, was invited to share his insights on this issue on Channel News Asia’s Business Tonight program.

Perera mentioned that he did not think the U.S. has moved too far and fast in easing Myanmar’s sanctions. He viewed these actions as the start of a process which would be contingent on sustained political reform in Myanmar. Nevertheless, there was still a need to calibrate the pace of easing with the institutionalizing of changes in Myanmar. Substantive changes – such as reforms to the constitution and parliament structure – would need to be taken into consideration.

It was also mentioned that investments in infrastructure like power generation, roads and utilities were the topmost priority for Myanmar and would be a key sector of interest to foreign investors. A second possible area to look into would be the oil and gas industry. As oil prices are still high, Myanmar has plenty of untapped potential for oil and gas production, particularly off-shore.

Perera commented that the investment climate in Myanmar is still considered deficient. One positive step was Myanmar’s implementation of a managed float of its currency. However, corruption, a weak regulatory framework and the scarcity of well-trained workers would still limit the flow of much-needed foreign investment into Myanmar.

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