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The CESD participated in the forum, “Why GSP is Essential for Decent Work and Industrial Peace”, where The CESD’s Executive Director, Dr. Zaw Oo, gave a presentation demonstrating evidence as to why the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is essential for Myanmar’s continued sustenance in socio-economic reforms and development. The forum was organised by the UMFCCI-Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Ctum Myanmar (Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar), with the objective of discussing possible consequences of GSP withdrawal and counter-arguments for it to remain.
As Myanmar begins to integrate itself into the global economy, CESD has sought to connect global best practices in value chain development to Myanmar’s ongoing modernization. Between December 20-22nd, the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) presented its findings at the International Chamber of Commerce and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ICC-ESCAP) Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. CESD’s Senior Program Coordinator, Ms. Nang Seng Pen, attended the workshop and presented CESD’s findings on how to upgrade Myanmar’s Agroforestry Value Chain. The value chain analysis specifically focused on rubber farmer development in Mon State, Myanmar.
On 9 and 10 December, The Union of Myanmar Federations Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) held its second annual convention. Bringing together representatives of UMFCCI’s 30,000 members, the convention was a 2-day workshop filled with keynote speeches and discussions seeking to identify and synergize Myanmar’s business community’s efforts and goals. During the convention, the community established 2018’s national business agenda.
During the convention, CESD’s Chief of the Board of Directors, Dr. U Myint, presented a powerful keynote speech on the state of Myanmar’s economy, calling on the Myanmar government to focus on the economy alongside the peace process.
In September 2015, the Myanmar government for the first time in history set a minimum wage at 3,600 MMK ($3 at that time of exchange rate) a day, lowest in ASEAN but slightly higher than Bangladesh. A year and a half after implementation, robust discussions continue between unions, worker representatives, businesses, and the government about the impacts and possible changes in the minimum wage level. On November 4th, CESD was invited by the Ministry of Labor, Population, and Immigration to arbitrate a workshop between worker representatives and government and policy-making figures seeking updates from workers, open a policy dialogue, and support future changes to the minimum wage.
CESD, in partnership with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS), undertook research on Myanmar SME’s Participation in ASEAN and East Asian Regional Economic Integration. The topic specifically focused on Myanmar’s food processing and apparel manufacturing sectors, seeking to understand Myanmar’s macroeconomic integration with the World, East Asia, and ASEAN region, the similarities between Myanmar’s SMEs and others around the world, and the role of SMEs in Myanmar compared to the world.
CESD, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), undertook research into the existing state of subnational public finances and intergovernmental relationships to help build knowledge on the current state of fiscal decentralization in Myanmar, and to promote dialogue on the challenges and opportunities faced by Myanmar’s Union and subnational governments with public financial management reform.
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.
Are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar participating in regional economic integration?
Recent research by CESD, based on a survey among garment and food processing companies, has built a greater understanding of how Myanmar’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) participate in regional economic integration. CESD presented findings from their research at a regional workshop in Indonesia in January 2016, organised by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and ISEAS –Yusof Ishak Institute, who had also funded CESD’s research on this topic.
A team of CESD senior researchers presented some of their recent research and publications at the Australian Myanmar Institute (AMI) “Myanmar and the sustainable development goals” conference, held at Yangon University, 10 – 12 July 2015.