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The International Enterprise Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) in the hopes of strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

The deal aims to open doors for more Singapore firms to explore possible collaborations and partnerships in Myanmar's urban and housing solutions, utilities, transport and logistics, manufacturing, oil and gas and professional services markets. As of the end of March 2017, the city-state was Myanmar's top foreign investor with assets amounting to US$4.3 billion.

The deal was signed by IE Singapore's Assistant Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tan Soon Kim and MIC's Secretary U Aung Naing Oo during the 6th Singapore-Myanmar Joint Ministerial Working Committee meeting. The Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang and Union Minister for Planning and Finance, and Chairman of the MIC Kyaw Win witnessed the signing of the MOU.

Tan said Myanmar has shown steady growth since its political and economic reforms started in 2011, making it an attractive place for Singapore firms.

"Whilst teething challenges are present, as with any emerging economy, we note the government's efforts to create a conducive business environment for foreign investors. For instance, its newly-passed investment law shows the government's commitment to promoting investments. Through this MOU, we hope to further collaboration between both countries on urban solutions, transport and logistics, utilities and professional service," he said.

To recall, Myanmar's economy registered a 6.4% gross domestic product growth in the past year. It is expected to clock in a 7.7% economic growth this year.

The newly-signed Myanmar Investment Law 2016 is expected to create a more favourable business environment for foreign investors. For instance, the law relaxed the criteria for long-term land leases, meaning any investor with a MIC Permit or Endorsement may now enter into long-term

leases of up to 50 years + 10 years + 10 years with private landlords or government entities. This is in contrast to the previous Foreign Investment Law 2012 where only companies with MIC permits could enter into the same long-term leases.