Myanmar: Asia’s ‘last frontier market’
Oct. 04, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Park Hye Ri and Lee Jihae
Myanmar, also called Asia’s “last frontier market,” has attracted considerable global attention for its fast economic growth.
Since becoming democratized in 2011 and opening its market, the country formerly called Burma has averaged economic growth of 6-7% every year.
Since Korea and Myanmar formed diplomatic ties in 1975, the two countries have closely cooperated in politics, economy, investment, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
Last month, President Moon Jae-in became the first Korean president to pay a state visit to Myanmar in seven years. There, he extensively discussed practical cooperation for mutual bilateral prosperity and collaboration between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Asia’s last frontier market
In his state visit to Myanmar last month, President Moon pledged to double Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund from USD 500 million to USD 1 billion and forge ahead with projects highlighting Korea’s development experience with the Myanmar Development Institute and the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.
He also decided to press ahead with the first Economic Innovation Partnership Program (EIPP), an alternative form of the Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP), with Myanmar and thus consolidate developmental cooperation between the two countries.
Laying basis for further economic cooperation
President Moon reached several conclusions to spur Korea’s corporate advance into Myanmar, which is called “Asia’s production base” given its abundant labor and natural resources.
He said his administration will launch the Korea Desk, a group that deals with problems Korean companies encounter when entering Myanmar, and a high-level consultative joint board between the two countries on commercial industry. The board will aim to provide momentum for the pursuit of cooperative projects.
The establishment of the Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex is also expected to stimulate Korean business investment in Myanmar.
President Moon said he hopes the complex will lead to a “miracle on the Ayeyarwady River (the longest in Myanmar),” similar to how Korea achieved the “miracle on the Hangang River,” a term used to describe Korea’s economic growth in the mid to late 20th century.
The hope is that Myanmar discusses boosting cooperative measures with Korea next month through the upcoming Korea-ASEAN summit and the inaugural Korea-Mekong summit in Busan.