According to the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam-Myanmar trade reached US$631.6 million in the first eight months of 2019, up 6.1 percent from the same period in 2018, including US$471.2 million worth of Vietnamese exports. Vietnam exported more than it imported from Myanmar.
Vietnamese Trade Counselor in Myanmar Vo Thi Ngoc Diep said there is great potential for doing business in Myanmar given its weak and inadequate production capabilities and absence of high technical barriers to imports.
According to Diep, the first Vietnamese products in Myanmar, including such renowned brands as Lioa and Hanvico, are all of high quality, and they have gained the trust of consumers there.
However, many businesses say Myanmar’s import and export licensing and customs clearance remain slow, making it difficult for products with a short shelf life, such as foodstuffs. A high percentage of Myanmar citizens are low income earners who cannot afford medium and high quality products.
Diep said businesses need to pay attention to Myanmar’s new trade policy, according to which 4,613 HS-coded import products and 3,345 HS-coded export products must be licensed by the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce; some agricultural products from a number of countries including Vietnam are imported into Myanmar without going through the Pest Risk Analysis (PRA); and joint venture companies are allowed to export 22 groups of finished goods with elements manufactured in Myanmar.
According to Myanmar’s Consumer Protection Law 2019, businesses must provide labeling descriptions for goods including name, size, and quantity of goods, use and storage instructions, and information about side effects and precaution methods in Burmese and other languages from March 15, 2020.
Dang Hai Nha, Chairman of the Vietnam Business Club in Myanmar (VBCM) said Vietnamese enterprises should access Myanmar’s market through local import partners, control selling prices and marketing policies, promote products in Myanmar, share with partners when the MMK/USD exchange rate fluctuates adversely, and control the payment schedule of local import partners.