- Total two-way trade: $318 million (2016)
- Trade in goods: $192 million
- Trade in services: $126 million
- Total two-way investment stock: np
- Australian investment in Myanmar: US$145.8 million24 (FDI end July 2017)
- Myanmar investment in Australia: Data not available
- Population: 52.3 million
- GDP growth: 6.3% (2016)
- GDP: US$66.3 billion (2016)
- GDP per capita: US$1,269.30 (2016)
- Ease of doing business: 170 of 190 (2017)
Myanmar has seen strong economic growth since embarking on political and economic reforms in 2011. Although it remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the region, Myanmar offers significant long-term potential through its proximity to developing markets, high GDP growth levels, youthful population eager to study, and extensive resource base.
Myanmar's business landscape is changing. Construction cranes vie with the tall spires of Buddhist temples across the commercial capital of Yangon as new hotels, offices and shopping centre developments get underway. More and more foreign investors are making the most of Myanmar's competitive advantages through export-orientated factories in special economic zones and ventures to deliver increasingly sophisticated goods and services to its population. Domestic companies are also diversifying their business activities, venturing into a wide range of activities across property, manufacturing, tourism, finance and energy.
Australian trade with Myanmar has grown steadily over the past five years, with wheat exports and education services leading the way. Australian investment is concentrated in energy, financial services, construction, and consultancy services. Approximately 30 to 40 Australian businesses operate in Myanmar.
Australian companies need to be aware of a number of risks as the country transitions, particularly: outdated investment regulations; underdeveloped transport, water and electricity infrastructure; and an underdeveloped financial sector with difficulties accessing finance. Meanwhile, levels of transparency and accountability, while improving, are still perceived as among the lowest in the world.
Mindful of these risks, Australian firms with a long-term view are set to benefit in sectors that complement Australian capabilities.
Education: Myanmar is improving education outcomes, particularly technical and vocational training, where significant skills gaps exist in many industries. Few Myanmar students study outside the country compared to other Asian countries. The potential to increase the number of long-term students in Australia or studying an Australian qualification in the region is very high.
Resources and energy: Myanmar's extensive natural resource base (oil and gas, minerals, forests and marine), and recent mining legislation reforms have led to growing international investment.
Premium food and beverage: Opportunities exist to supply processed and packaged premium Australian food and wine. With new restaurants opening regularly, Australia can build market share in the retail and food service sectors through targeted food promotions at hotels, restaurants, retail supermarkets and local trade shows.
Agribusiness: Because of its favourable climate and geography, Myanmar has the potential to become a major agricultural producer and exporter. Opportunities are emerging in dairy and aquaculture technology, as well as livestock farming, for Australian technology and expertise to assist with lifting productivity.