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Singapore Seeks First Mover Status in Myanmar After Reforms

Singapore’s government is sponsoring a business delegation to Myanmar next week in an effort to take advantage of opportunities as the former military dictatorship seeks to end its global economic isolation.

International Enterprise Singapore, a government agency, will lead a visit by 115 delegates from 74 Singapore-based companies from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18, it said in a statement today. The group plans to meet Myanmar President Thein Sein and several business groups, the agency said.

“Recent reforms undertaken in Myanmar and positive reactions from major economies augur well for the country,” Teo Eng Cheong, IE Singapore’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “Singapore’s connections with overseas markets place our companies in a strong position to be first movers in an emerging new market like Myanmar.”

Thein Sein visited Singapore last week and signed a deal to tap the country’s expertise in financial management and monetary policy as he aims to transform an economy shunned by Western nations for more than two decades. Singapore is Myanmar’s fourth-largest trading partner, IE Singapore said.

The Singapore Business Federation is also sponsoring the trip. All Singapore-registered companies with paid-up capital of S$500,000 ($401,767) must become members of the federation, according to the group’s website.

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