EuroCham Members Discussed on European Economic Diplomacy With H.E. Kristian Schmidt, Ambassador of The European Union To Myanmar

On Wednesday 27 February 2019, EuroCham Myanmar organised a breakfast talk on business climate in Myanmar and EU response on UN report and Rakhine State visit for EU businesses with H.E. Kristian Schmidt, EU Ambassador to Myanmar, in the presence of more than 40 country representatives of European companies in Myanmar.

The event was a continuation of an initiative to establish a regular consultation platform between EU Delegation and EuroCham advocacy members.

The EuroCham Breakfast Talk started with an introduction by H.E. Kristian Schmidt in which he discussed increasing international scrutiny of Myanmar, the critical report of the UN fact finding mission and the International Criminal Court’s probe into Myanmar. Ambassador Schmidt discussed the situation in the Rakhine and stressed the EU’s call for accountability.

Ambassador Schmidt explained the reasons behind the visit of an EU delegation to render the real Rakhine situation, including visits to refugee camps and the difficulty to get an efficient access to humanitarian aid. He also stated that if the situation in the Rakhine does not improve, then the EU will consider revoking Myanmar’s GSP privileges but will continue to engage in dialogue with the Myanmar government to advocate for human rights.

Mr. Dieter Billen then pursued the presentation by detailing the political, economic and geopolitical perspective for the coming years in Myanmar. The current administration will be closely scrutinised on its economic results for the 2020 election. He also highlighted the general trend of decentralisation process currently taking place, giving more autonomy to regional governments. To be on an equal footstep with China’s full scaled projects, Mr. Billen envisioned a consortium approach for European companies.  EuroCham’s forum creates such an occasion to shape future large-scale projects in Myanmar.

Lastly, the co-chairs and representatives of EuroCham’s Advocacy Groups presented the EU Ambassador with an update on the current state of affairs in their respective sectors. EuroCham Myanmar has the following Advocacy Groups:                                                   

Agro-Business Advocacy Group chaired by Ms Esther Wintraecken and Mr Johan van den Ban.

Anti-Illicit Trade Advocacy Group chaired by Ms Khine Wai Thwe

Automotive Advocacy Group chaired by Mr Chan Mya and Mr Temmy Wiradjaja

Construction Advocacy Group chaired by Ms Sandar Aung Rebiere and Mr Vadim Nunez Pawlowsky

Digital Innovation Advocacy Group chaired by Mr Erwin Sikma, Ms Rianne Roggema and Mr Christo Thekkel

Energy Advocacy Group chaired by Ms Andrea Isabel and Mr Romaric Roignan

Garment Advocacy Group chaired by Mr Tobias Fischer

Health Advocacy Group chaired by Mr Frederik Meerhoff and Mr Ruben Lee

Legal & Tax Advocacy Group chaired by Mr Nishant Choudhary and Mr Alexander Bohusch

Logistics Advocacy Group chaired by Ms Flora Pintusoontorm and Mr Thorstein Svendsen

Wine and Spirits Advocacy group chaired by Mr Paul Kelleher.

Event Outcome

European companies expressed their appreciation for the EU Ambassador’s presentation and support. Moreover, they look forward to continuing and intensifying their cooperation, with the EU Delegation through EuroCham Myanmar to jointly improve the business climate for European companies in the country. The importance of the coming election of 2020 was highlighted. Despite Myanmar government commitment to universal values and the willingness to transition to a viable democracy, implementation of such policies remains a tedious process.

For more information regarding the many activities of the EU Delegation, please be referred to the website: https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/myanmar-burma_en

Agenda


  1. Introduction by EuroCham Director Filip Lauwerysen
  2. Business climate in Myanmar insights, EU response on UN report and Myanmar’s integration to ASEAN as a regional block
  3. Update on political landscape and possible attention point for private sector by Roland Berger
  4. Tour de table: update from the private sector (business climate, new business legislation, views on government’s economic agenda etc.)
  5. Concluding remarks.

Quotes by H.E. Kristian Schmidt, EU Ambassador to Myanmar: 

Myanmar government made commitment to universal values that implies UN core conventions, abolition of child labour and slavery”

 “The delegation will have a mixed bag of news when returning to the EU Commission.”

 ”EU FDI is still increasing despite frustration from the private sector”

 “The EUD in Myanmar along with EuroCham Myanmar is going to strengthen its economic diplomacy agenda before summer 2019”

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