Home » Inclusive development » Regional economic integration of Myanmar’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

Regional economic integration of Myanmar’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

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For decades, Myanmar’s economic system was characterized by economic isolation and central planning. Today, however, as Myanmar is in the middle of a far-reaching political and economic transition, it is leaving this past behind. For Myanmar’s enterprises, and Small and Medium Sizes Enterprises (SMEs) in particular, the opening of the country’s economy in general and the intensification of regional economic integration more specifically, most notably through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC), bring both opportunities and challenges.

SME_participationIt is in this context that CESD investigated the extent of Myanmar SMEs’ participation in ASEAN and East Asian regional economic relations as well as the challenges they face and the policy support they need for deeper integration. More specifically, CESD’s research attempts to address the following four questions:

  1. What is the state of Myanmar SMEs’ participation in regional trade, production networks, and investment activities?
  2. What are the enabling factors and obstacles to SME participation in regional economic activities?
  3. How have regional and preferential trade agreements affected SMEs’ activities and performance?
  4. What are the policy imperatives to promote active participation of Myanmar SMEs in regional economic integration?

CESD’s research analyzed existing secondary data while also drawing on a new dataset collected by CESD  in mid-2015 through a survey among Myanmar enterprises, particularly in the food-processing and garment sectors. This study was funded by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

As a result of CESD’s research and analysis, a number of policy recommendations emerged, including the need to encourage the registration and formalisation of firms; increase awareness of and knowledge about ASEAN and free trade agreements (FTAs), and facilitate investment and technological upgrading by firms.

CESD’s Economic Reforms Working Paper No. 1/2016, “Myanmar SMEs’ participation in ASEAN and east Asian regional economic integration – with a focus on processed food and apparel manufacturing” can be downloaded via the link below.

Publication name: CESD Economics Reform Working Paper No. 1/2016: Myanmar SMEs’ participation in ASEAN and east Asian regional economic integration – with a focus on processed food and apparel manufacturing

Authors: Thomas Bernhardt , S Kanay De and Giles Dickenson-Jones

Supported by: The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS)

Publication date: August 2016

Language: English

Download the article from the following link: