Singapore surpasses China as a top investor in Myanmar since January according to the data from Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations. Singapore has easy access for businesses, a good banking system and is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is also a member. China was the top investor in Myanmar through December 2018. The other top investors were Thailand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Japan, India, France, the United States, Indonesia and Canada.
U Thant Zin Lwin, acting director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, said the government has been finding ways to make it easier for foreign investors to come to the country. He noted that in 2016, parliament enacted a new investment law and relaxed regulations on land matters. “In the past, it was required to show a distinct (land) grant. Sometimes, not even the copy but also the original grant had to be submitted. Now the regulations are not that strict. We approve a proposal even if there is no solid proof of land ownership and the land zoning change proposal is submitted to the Central Farmland Administration Committee,” he said.
Local and foreign economists said political instability in the country, such as the Rakhine humanitarian crisis, as well as business and investment policy issues have spooked many potential investors. They said many investors have opted to invest instead in nearby Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, where the business climate is more favorable and investment policies are clear.