Burma - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation
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From April 2021 onwards, the regime implemented a series of import restrictions to stimulate the re-opening of military-owned enterprises. The SAC’s economic policies have moved towards an import substitution model, with more than a third of all imported items placed under restrictions of some kind.

Securing import licenses is a challenge for importers. The Burma Ministry of Commerce has implemented stringent import regulations that result in licenses being granted to only around 10% of imported goods. 

The export sector in Burma is experiencing a decline, leading to weakened export earnings. Due to this downturn, importers face a shortage of foreign currency to facilitate supplier payments. Compounding the situation, supplier payments can only be processed through official channels.  Traders also use the Hundi system, an illegal, non-banking financial practice commonly used in Burma to transfer money and make payments. Practicing the “import first, pay later” concept is no longer feasible in Burma, as several global suppliers have lost confidence in local importers due to payment delays and banking challenges. 

The Trade Department, overseen by Burma’s Ministry of Commerce, has recently announced the availability of import license submissions via the Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 platform. This includes both automatic and non-automatic licensing systems, with effect from June 22, 2023.  Commodity lines that previously did not necessitate import licenses for seaborne trade now require them. Furthermore, as of June 2023, all import license applications pertaining to border trade will only be processed under the non-automatic licensing system. 

The necessary documentation for the importation of goods into Myanmar includes the following: 

  • An import license (depending on the nature of the goods). 
  • Invoice. 
  • Bill of lading, air consignment notes, or truck notes. 
  • Packing list. 
  • Any additional certificates, permits, or import recommendations as required, such as a country-of-origin certificate, SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) certificate, or FDA certificate. 

For more information on the Guide to Import and Special Customs Procedures, please refer to the following links: 

As the laws and regulations governing imports are highly complex, most importers rely on professional experts such as freight forwarders and customs brokers to plan and carry out import transactions.