Local firms look for biz in Myanmar

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Local firms look for biz in Myanmar

Korea is trying to hop on the Myanmar bandwagon as it emerges from decades of isolation.

Vice Minister of Knowledge Economy Cho Seok visited Myanmar along with 170 businessmen and officials from 86 companies and institutions, the ministry said yesterday.

The ministry also held a Korea-Myanmar Economic Cooperation Forum in Naypyitaw, the capital city of Myanmar, yesterday.

Cho met Myanmar President Thein Sein to discuss future economic cooperation. He was accompanied on his trip by dozens of representatives of Korean companies from the fields of construction, electricity, information technology, energy, automobiles, steel and trading. They included representatives of Samsung Electronics, Korea Gas, Korea Resources, Lotte International and Samsung C&T.

There is growing interest in business opportunities in Myanmar, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said the United States would start lifting economic sanctions against the country following a parliamentary election that was considered the freest in years. Korea is the fourth-largest direct investor in Myanmar with $2.9 billion as of 2011 behind China, Thailand and Hong Kong. Daewoo International is involved in natural gas development in the country, and its investment accounts for 85 percent of Korea’s total investment in the country.

Myanmar has the largest reserves of natural gas in Asia and a population of 60 million. Lotte recently said it would open an office in Myanmar.

By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

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