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Editorial

Overview

2015 was another year of transition for Myanmar. A general election saw the National League for Democracy win over half of the contested seats, with the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party transferring over power peacefully. While Aung San Suu Kyi remains barred from the presidency, a close ally, Htin Kyaw, was elected president with Suu Kyi taking several key roles.

The Yangon Stock Exchange has launched and legislation has enacted the New York Convention, however problems remain regarding the country’s legal infrastructure, particularly difficulty in taking assets as security for loans. In another recent development, at the time of going to press, the US indicated that it was minded to end all economic sanctions, including an end to the SDN list and allowing imports of gems such as jade and rubies.

For historical reasons, Myanmar has a limited pool of local lawyers; recruitment of quality local counsel remains a key challenge.

A number of international law firms have entered the market over the past several years, including Baker & McKenzie Yangon and Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (which opened its Yangon office in 2016), in addition to pan-Asean firms such as Rajah & Tann NK Legal Myanmar Company Limited. A number of other law firms advise on Myanmar-related projects from desks outside the country, and Myanmar offices regularly call on resources elsewhere in Asia.

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