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Editorial

Overview

The political situation in Myanmar continues to be a major influencing factor on the country's development. Although the oppressive military regime officially ended in 2011, and the first free elections in 25 years were held in 2015, army operations against alleged terrorists in Rakhine state since August 2017 caused a wave of migration to neighbouring Bangladesh. The situation received significant media coverage, damaged the country’s international reputation and made many potential foreign investors reconsider their options.

For many, doing business, building connections and securing work in Myanmar means being in uncharted waters. Nevertheless, emerging reforms bring with them a higher level of legal certainty, including press freedom, as well as developments in other areas, such as the establishment of trade unions.

The energy, telecoms and hospitality sectors have seen notable development, leveraging foreign investment from Europe, USA, China, Japan and Korea coupled with government support; major infrastructure projects are currently underway in Mandalay and Yangon.

While many firms such as Allen & Overy (Thailand) Co, Ltd, Mayer Brown, Norton Rose Fulbright, DLA Piper and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer still have their offices in Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong, other leading players such as Baker McKenzie Yangon, Tilleke & Gibbins and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Yangon) Limited have established a presence in Yangon, hiring local lawyers and capitalising on their cultural and business knowledge.

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