Economists said there was a golden chance for Vietnamese businesses to export their products to Myanmar as its Government was making numerous offers to foreign traders and investors.

Just 20 percent of domestic demand in the 58 million-strong market has been met by domestic production, leaving significant room for imports.

The Myanmar Government has recently promulgated numerous policies to encourage foreign trade and investment, including mandates for establishing wholly foreign-invested companies and streamlining application procedures for business visas.

In two consecutive months, July and August, Vietnam sent two business missions to Myanmar for market surveys. Another mission with the participation of 30 companies is expected to leave for the potential market in October. The coming mission aims to study the feasibility of building a showroom and shopping centre for Vietnamese products in Yangon .

Many Vietnamese business giants have already shaken hands with Myanmar partners. The Ton Hoa Sen Group has signed a memorandum of understanding on investment in producing corrugated iron, steel and construction materials worth 300 million USD with the Myanmar Ministry of Industry 2.

A similar investment has been planned by the Hoang Anh-Gia Lai Group for a project to build a Vietnam-Myanmar trade and cultural complex in Yangon.

The Vinashin Vung Tau has planned to invest in a lobster farming project in Myanmar after success in raising cold water fish such as salmon and sturgeon.

Back from a market survey trip in August, Ngoc Linh from the Ho Chi Minh City Trade and Investment Promotion Centre guaranteed the Myanmar market is opening its door wide for Vietnamese enterprises, especially consumer goods, food processors and drug makers.

Statistics released by the Myanmar Customs Office showed that two-way trade revenues increased 86.7 percent year on year to 56 million USD in the first half of the year. Vietnam ’s exports rose by 53.5 percent to 16 million USD.

Vietnam is the 14 th largest exporter to Myanmar . Its hard currency earners ranged from materials for the garment industry to assorted steels, medicines, medical equipment, vehicle tyres and inner tubes, and building materials.

Vietnamese products such as electric lamps, medicines and aluminium products have taken a firm foothold in the Myanmar market. Dien Quang brand, for example, has become the second-best seller in electric lamps, earning some 1.5 million USD in monthly export revenues.

Products from the Hau Giang Pharmaceutical Company have become popular in this market over the past three eyars.

Vietnam’s imports included timber, rubber latex, farm produce, raw seafood and copper.

A major problem facing Vietnamese businesses is fierce competition with low-priced made-in-china products, with prices between 20 and 25 percent lower than those from Vietnam.

Linh has advised businesses to facilitate trademark promotion campaigns along with expanding distribution networks in an effort to make made-in-Vietnam products familiar to customers in Myanmar .

Ambassador Chu Cong Phung gave another piece of advice - that Vietnamese businesses should set up strong ties with Myanmar partners to help clear the way for Vietnamese exports into Myanmar./.