Exports from Myanmar to France surged more than 1200 percent during the first five months of this year, the French embassy to Yangon said during a visit by that country’s Minister for Foreign Trade at the end of July.
Exports from Myanmar to France in the first five months of the year rose 1250 percent to €20.4 million (US$27 million) from €1.5 million in the same period year last year, the embassy said. Exports from France to Myanmar rose 275pc in the same period, to €23.9 million, it added.
The announcement was made during a visit by Minister Nicole Bricq on July 30 and 31 during which she officially opened a trade office and formally cancelled half of the debt owed to France by Myanmar.
“This morning I signed the agreement on cancellation of the debt. The Myanmar government owed a total of $1.1 billon and we cancelled 50pc of the arrears. The rest … will be rescheduled [to be paid] over 15 years,” she said at the French Embassy on July 31. “We believe this cancellation will help Myanmar to keep a sustainable financial position and manage its development policies,” she added.
The decision to write off the arrears was made during a meeting of the Paris Club on January 25.
Ms Bricq, who was accompanied by representatives of 15 small- and medium-sized enterprises, also said the official inauguration of a trade office she presided over on July 31 “reflects the French government commitments to Myanmar reforms”. The office, adjacent the French embassy in Yangon, has been functioning since early this year.
Dominique Causse, head of economic
services at the French Embassy, said the sale of two ATR 92 aircrafts by France-based ATR to carrier Air KBZ earlier this year demonstrated the scale of emerging business opportunities in Myanmar.
Other key sectors for French businesses are pharmaceutical and mechanical and electrical equipment, he added.
French investors are also particularly interested in the hotel and tourism industry, Ms Bricq said.
“French-based Accor Hospitality is already here in Myanmar and developing Novotel Hotel projects in Yangon, as well as in Bagan and Mandalay,” she added.
France is currently developing a range of financial support services, such as export finance and grants for feasibility studies, that will help its companies do business in Myanmar, the embassy said.