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Business News in Brief

“No arms deal” in Myanmar-North Korea talks

The recent talks between a North Korean delegation and the government did not include anything about arms sale but only focused on the tension on the Korean peninsula and other diplomatic issues, presidential spokesperson U Ye Htut said. Myanmar, as the alternate chair of the ASEAN, would like to make the Korean peninsula a nuclear-free zone, so matters concerning this were discussed with the North Korean delegation as South Korea is a dialogue partner of the ASEAN, Ye Htut, who is also the deputy information minister, said.

Germany to help Myanmar carry out airport project

Germany will provide technical and financial assistance to Myanmar’s new international airport project in Bago region, local media reported. Two German companies Obermeyar Planen + Beraten GmbH and Gnip International have applied for pre-qualification for the construction of the 3,645-hectares Hanthawaddy International Airport, which is set to start by 2016. Besides airport extension, Germany will also make investment in construction and maintenance of ports in Myanmar.

Thilawa Port to be extended

International tenders will be invited soon for the construction of two more ports – for general cargo and containers – at Thilawa, at over $200 million of development assistance granted by Japan, chief engineer Mya Than of Myanmar Port Authority said.

Subcommittee to ease import restriction on foreign goods

The Trade Development Sub Committee (TDSC) has been in discussion with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to ease restrictions on importing wine and other foreign goods, according to local media reports. An online application system for import/export entrepreneur licences saw a trial launch in February, meaning businesses no longer have to ask permission from the Myanmar Investment Commission and that foreign companies can import goods such as wine, oil and other foreign products.

Authorities to dredge Thanlwin to aid goods transport

The government will work together with private companies to dredge the Thanlwin river estuary to help ships better use the river to export goods from industrial zones, officials said. The authorities are planning to establish an industrial zone in Myanmar’s southern Mon state and aim to use the river to transport heavy materials and cargo for a cement factory. Siam Cement Group from Thailand and entrepreneurs from Myanmar are planning to build a cement factory near in Mon state’s Kyaikmaraw township. An industrial zone in Mawlamyine is also being planned.

Tourism receipts shoot up by $400 million

Myanmar earned $926 million in tourism receipts last year, $400 million more than the income in 2012, according to the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism under the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Last year’s more than 2 million tourist arrivals were attributed to the hosting of the 27th SEA Games. The tourism industry grew by 93 percent last year and has led to increasing job opportunities, vice president U Nyan Tun said at the meeting of Central Committee for Development of National Tourism Industry. The government will implement a Tourism Master Plan 2013-2020, comprising 38 projects with an estimated cost of $486 million. The plan estimates Myanmar’s tourist arrivals to reach 3.1 million in 2015 and over 7 million in 2020. Revenue from the tourism industry is expected to reach $10.18 billion and add 1.49 million jobs by 2020, according to the master plan.

Tax evading firms to face 10-year jail term

Big companies evading tax will face 10 years in jail unless they pay their due taxes on time, local media reported quoting Min Htu, director general of the Internal Revenue Department, as saying. Only about half of over 30,000 companies in the country are paying taxes at the moment and over 60 groups of companies, which have been evading taxes for a long time, were recently warned to pay taxes within a certain campaign period, Min Htut said. The report did not mention who will go to prison if a company is punished for tax evasion. In terms of revenue contribution to GDP, Myanmar is the smallest among the ASEAN, Finance Minister U Win Shein earlier said.

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