- Although a state-owned West German company, Fritz Werner, began operating inside Burma in the 1950s, manufacturing small arms for the Tatmadaw, and Japanese oil companies were involved in exploration in the Andaman Sea in the 1980s, there was no significant foreign private investment in the country during the Burma Socialist Programme Party period (1962-1988). In November 1988, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, following the precedents of China and Vietnam, decreed the "Union of Burma Foreign Investment Law," which granted foreign firms the right to establish branches, wholly owned subsidiaries, and joint ventures with state-owned or private Burmese firms. By 1998, more than US$6.8 billion in foreign investments had been committed, although the amount actually disbursed was much lower. The largest amounts were in the oil and natural gas, manufacturing, tourism, real estate, and mining sectors. However, by the late 1990s, investment had slackened because of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Western sanctions, and political-economic uncertainty inside the country. The major sources of investment capital in the late 1990s were, in descending order of magnitude: Singapore (US$1.49 billion), Britain (US$1.35 billion), Thailand (US$1.24 billion), Malaysia (US$587 million), the United States (US$582 million), France (US$470 million), the Netherlands (US$238 million), Indonesia (US$236 million), and Japan (US$219 million). The largest single investment was the US$1.2 billion Yadana Pipeline Project, a French-American-Thai joint venture with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise to supply Thailand with natural gas. Investment statistics for 2003-2004 reveal commitments by South Korea ($34.9 million), Britain ($27 million), Thailand ($22 million), Hong Kong ($3 million), China ($2.8 million), and Canada ($1.5 million). Statistics on real Chinese investment since 1988 may be understated.See also Economy and Economic Policy, State Law and Order Restoration Council/State Peace and Development Council Era.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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