No. 42 – May 2015
Authors: Luca Garruba
Economic and political development
In 2011 the dictatorship of military regime that ruled Myanmar for almost fifty years has been challenged by the aspirations of a transition towards democracy. This process could lead to a huge transformation of political, economic and social system of the country. For decades the very poor economy of Myanmar was largely controlled by the State. This situation has created a stagnant economy and an inevitable economic and political isolation of Myanmar. The political and economic reforms announced by the new government are seen as key elements for the transition to democracy and within few years they could allow to Myanmar to become a power among the emerging countries. This paper analyses the changes that are taking place since the civilian government took power and the current legal and economic situation. This study aims to deepen the relations of Myanmar with the international community, particularly with ASEAN, United States, European Union and WTO, to analyse the major sectors of economic development in Myanmar and the situation of special economic zones’ expansion. This analysis is combined with studies of the main branches of Myanmar’s law, which is partly inspired by the model of neighbouring China, but which still needs reforms and integrations. In this regard, the government is moving to reform especially the main laws relating to commercial law, such as company law and intellectual property law. The government of Thein Sein has eliminated skepticism and it has launched several reforms in the economic field in order to exploit Myanmar’s resources and put them at the service of economic and social development of the population. Characterized by a very low cost of labour and the proximity to major economies of Asia, Myanmar is therefore considered a likely emerging power.