Burma - Country Commercial Guide
Investment Climate Statement

The Investment Climate Statement Chapter of the CCG is provided by the State Department.

Last published date: 2021-09-27

The U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world.  They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses.

Topics include Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory systems, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Rights, Transparency, Performance Requirements, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.

These statements highlight persistent barriers to further U.S. investment.  Addressing these barriers would expand high-quality, private sector-led investment in infrastructure, further women’s economic empowerment, and facilitate a healthy business environment for the digital economy.  To access the ICS, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.

Executive Summary

On February 1, the Burmese military seized power in a coup d’état that reversed much of the economic progress of recent years.  The military’s incompetence in addition to a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests that destabilized the country’s security situation created a sharp deterioration in the investment climate.  The economy is projected to contract by at least 18 percent, according to the World Bank.  The civil disobedience movement and general strikes organized across the country to oppose the military coup and protest the increasing violence have significantly reduced Burma’s commercial activity.  Many routine services that businesses require like customs, ports, and banks were not fully operational as of September 2021.  Access to U.S. dollars is limited.  The military regime’s suspensions of internet and other telecommunications service have curtailed access to information and also seriously hindered routine business operations.  Commercial international flights remain banned, ostensibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some foreign companies have temporarily suspended operations, invoked force majeure to exit existing investments, and evacuated foreign national staff.  There is a lack of rule of law, random violence by regime forces, and arbitrary detentions of businesspersons without charges.  Companies invested in the market face a heightened reputational risk.  There is also the potential for the military regime to expropriate property or nationalize private companies particularly in the financial and telecommunication sectors.  In response to the coup, the U.S. government has imposed targeted sanctions, suspended our Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and instituted more stringent export controls.  Investors should exercise extreme caution and conduct heightened due diligence when considering new investments in this market.