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Foreign investment in Myanmar “double” in 2008

Posted on: March 20, 2009


AP – Friday, March 20

YANGON, Myanmar – Foreign investment in military-ruled Myanmar nearly doubled in the first 11 months of 2008 to $974.9 million, with China pouring the bulk of it into mining, a government statistics report said.The total investment from January to November 2008 was a 93 percent increase from the $505 million registered during the same period of 2007, the Ministry of National Planning and Development said in latest statistical report obtained Thursday.

The report said that the mining industry drew more than 88 percent of the foreign investment in 2008, a new record for that sector. It did not specify which mining industries benefited most.

China accounted for $855.99 million of the foreign investment, the report said. Newspapers last year reported that China Nonferrous Metal Group, a state-owned company, signed an agreement with Myanmar to mine nickel. The deal that was described as the largest ever mining deal between the countries but newspapers did not detail figures.

Russia invested $94 million and Vietnam $20 million, both in the oil and gas sector, while Singapore invested $5 million in the mining sector, the report said.

Since Myanmar liberalized its investment code in late 1988, it has attracted large investments in the hydroelectric power and oil and gas sectors.

China is one of Myanmar’s biggest trading partners and closest diplomatic allies. Western countries have repeatedly expressed hopes that Beijing will leverage those ties to press the junta to open a dialogue with the opposition.

The United States and European Union have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar to pressure the military government to improve human rights and release detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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