HCM CITY (VNS)— Myanmar, the last untapped market in Southeast Asia, is opening to the world and offers plenty of opportunities to Vietnamese investors, a conference on investment in Myanmar heard in HCM City yesterday.
"With a population of 60 million and area of more than 670,000sq.km, Myanmar is a promising destination for investors," Dam Trung Bac the country's honorary consul in HCM City, told the conference organised by the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC).
Vietnamese companies have many advantages, such as the long relationship between the two countries, and common factors like having rich agriculture lands, according to Bac. Myanmar has large natural forests and a long coastline like Viet Nam and cheap labour to offer Vietnamese companies.
ITPC director Pho Nam Phuong agreed saying the market was growing rapidly and has become a magnet for investors around the world.
"Around 90 per cent of industrial and consumer products in Myanmar is imported, so we must tap the market," she said.
Myanmar welcomed Vietnamese companies in all sectors, the conference heard.
But the companies should focus on forestry and agriculture, including aquaculture, oil and gas, and minerals, delegates said.
Bac said: "These sectors are very promising but few Vietnamese companies have entered them."
Trade between the two countries last year was worth US$227 million, a seven-fold rise since 2003.
But Bac told Viet Nam News that even such rapid growth did not match the potential the two countries have. "They have planned to increase trade to $500 million by 2015."
The main hurdle facing Vietnamese companies hoping to do business in Myanmar was their lack of determination, he said.
The small amount they invest was also an obstacle since it meant they could not compete with investors from other countries, he said.
The best way forward for them was to have confidence when investing and to carefully study the market, which was similar to Viet Nam at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, he added. — VNS