As the ASEAN Economic Community comes into effect, the overwhelming flow of goods may hurt small and medium enterprises (SME) in Myanmar, leading the Ministry of Commerce to draft antidumping and safeguard laws.
U Thein Myint Wai, assistant director at the ministry, said, “When the floodgates of trade are opened, low quality goods can come in. Also, SMEs may get driven out of business as they won’t be able to compete in terms of price and quality with foreign products. Thus, the ministry is preparing laws to prevent this. ”
Ninety percent of local businesses are SMEs and owners constantly face difficulties with insufficient financing and lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity. This severely daunts their competitiveness and experts say laws may prove essential to protect the SMEs in Myanmar.
According to AEC regulations, import tax is set at zero percent, but the ministry said that an anti-dumping and countervailing duty law will prevent cases such as exporting with tax reductions and importing surplus amount.
Local business owners may suffer if the amount of imported products is higher than it should be and tax will be imposed under a trade safeguard law, U Thein Myint Wai said.
UNESCAP has been providing technical assistance since 2013 for the establishment of these laws and Safeguard Law has been in place starting in 2014 according to the ministry of commerce.
As for now, the ministry is finishing up the second phase of the safeguard law, and it would go into effect in 2016.