The Value-Added Exports Bill will be forwarded to the union government parliament in order to stimulate job opportunities and value-added production, a government official said.
The bill includes plans to ensure tax exemptions, protective taxes and special loans for exporters, Dr Maung Aung, advisor to the Ministry of Commerce, told Myanmar Business Today.
The bill is aimed at encouraging Myanmar businesses to move away from the production of basic commodities, instead rewarding the production of more sophisticated finished products through added value chains, thus expanding industrial operations and creating greater job opportunities, he said.
“We are currently exporting mostly basic goods and materials for low prices. Some exporters have stopped their trade for lack of profits and the country is losing foreign exchange income. The bill has now been prepared and we are working to submit it to the parliament just after submitting it for government review.”
Although endowed with rich natural resources, Myanmar mainly exports raw materials such as agricultural produce, timber logs and mineral extracts while importing finished products including building materials and electronic products, some of which may even be produced from the materials from Myanmar.
Local manufacturers can tap the domestic markets as well as gain higher profits from exports with higher-quality finished products, U Tin Than Oo, a legal and economic expert, said.
“Myanmar should have focused on the development of finished product exports a long time ago. If the manufacturing sector is transformed, it will be very beneficial for the country as the higher-quality finished goods can generate much higher revenue than basic goods and materials,” he told Myanmar Business Today.
The government banned timber logs exports from April 1 last year, the beginning of the fiscal year 2014-15, and is also planning to develop the country’s gems and jewellery industry to produce and export high-quality jewellery rather than relying on raw gems export.