In order to increase exports, an expanded team of economic ambassadors will be appointed to countries in order to support the existing ambassadors to nine countries, according to a source from the Ministry of Commerce.
The program started in 2012 when Myanmar appointed economic ambassadors to the US, Japan, China, Belgium, India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea.
However, exports have not gone up with rising imports, leading to a worrying trade deficit, Dr Maung Aung, an advisor to the Ministry of Commerce, told Myanmar Business Today.
The MIC will appoint new ambassadors in order to improve trade and channel foreign investment.
He said, “We have selected the countries with good economies and favourable market conditions and we have submitted our plan to the President’s office. Depending on the extent of the budget, the President’s office will choose additional countries to which the ambassadors should be appointed. As of now, we cannot clarify which new countries are selected.”
Moreover, performance of currently appointed ambassadors from nine countries will be evaluated and there would be replacement if new ones are appointed.
Dr Maung Aung also said, “Now, Myanmar is targeting the export development sector. It needs to welcome export-related foreign investment and local industrial zones such as Thilawa. On the other hand, economic ambassadors need to search for new markets as their role is important and they have to be qualified in their tasks.”
“Export development is crucial for trade improvement and finding markets to export is more crucial,” said U Thein Myint Wai, assistant director at the ministry.
For the time being, exports can focus mainly on the Thai market because of the weakness in export to markets of non-neighbouring countries and insufficient market data. A significant chunk of Myanmar’s export earnings come from Thailand, largely due to gas exports.