Challenges and opportunities facing Myanmar wood exporters
Myanmar is rich in natural resources. Myanmar’s wood industry benefits from abundant teak, famous around the world for its durability and water resistance. As I thought the industry was the best potential market to invest in when I entered into it 30 years ago.
In 1994, I became a manufacturer and exporter of wooden furniture and flooring in order to create more jobs for my people through producing items with added value. When I started my company, it had a total of 460 employees, but the company had to be cut down to 120 employees following 2003 EU and US sanctions.
As an exporter in a developing country like Myanmar, there are many challenges including strict government regulations, rare skilled labor and under-developed banking systems. International companies with a large amount of capital are able to avoid these obstacles, employing skilled labor and using the newest technology.
If I could improve my country’s framework in order to increase trade and business in Myanmar, I want would reduce government interventions in the economic sector and cut down trade barriers.
Eliminating trade barriers, assisting banking system to develop and creating an environment that nurtures skilled laborers would help our country’s export market significantly.
Looking at the future of our business and industry, the business will flourish if a real democracy is established. At present, Myanmar is drawing substantial global interest. If we transition into a democracy, export opportunities will develop over the next one to three years.
Myanmar is rich with natural resources, but weak in technological know-how. This forces Myanmar to export raw materials to other countries. If we could invest in advanced technology, our products would be competitive in the global market and our sales would increase.
About the Author – Bo Kyaw