A number of reforms have been undertaken to improve business and trading conditions but challenges still remain including the weakness of the rule of law, lack of a stable business environment, lack of transparency and widespread corruption.
Myanmar joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1997 and is a member of its Economic Community.
Australia and Myanmar are signatories to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which entered into force in 2009. Myanmar has not committed to any tariff reductions for wine.
Myanmar is party to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Free Trade Agreement negotiations currently taking place between ASEAN, New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea so there is potential for FTA tariff concessions in future.
The imported wine market is made up primarily of wines from France, Chile, Australia and South Africa although wines from most major exporting countries can be found on the shelves. Wines from France have traditionally dominated the market, particularly in terms of value, but there has been a growing interest in wines from the New World. There are no official statistics available on the market but it is estimated to be worth USD$2 million and around half a million litres per year.
The wine market has been severely curtailed due to the recent enforcement of restrictions on legal import channels as only hotels and duty free stores are permitted to import alcoholic beverages. There is a proposal currently being considered to relax these restrictions but until then demand for imported wine will be limited.
The imported food distribution network primarily flows through local agents and distributors with specialist industry knowledge and established networks. Austrade Yangon is able to help identify potential local partners for interested Australian companies (see Contacts below). Challenges to accessing the Myanmar market include a significantly underdeveloped logistical network with lack of infrastructure and high transportation and port costs.
Unstable power generation means products should be packed and shipped in consideration of the tropical climate and with clear storage instructions.
Myanmar is a minor export market for Australian wine. Nevertheless, with tariff rates for Australian products under negotiation through the RCEP free trade discussions, Myanmar may be a future market to consider.