Suu Kyi Visit Highlights Japan's Myanmar Push
Now that Myanmar is open for business, the rush of investors means strong competition: The list of visitors to Myanmar's Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, which shows scores of photos of visitors perched on brown leather sofas topped with white lace antimacassars, reads like a "Who's Who" of international commerce: equity investors from China, Japanese logistics companies and megabanks and big global conglomerates such as Nestle, Unilever (UL) and Dupont (DD).
Balancing the interests of competing foreign investors and the public can be tricky, as Suu Kyi herself found after villages confronted her to demand an explanation for her support of the Letpadaung copper mine project, which is partly owned by a Chinese company.
An official panel headed by Suu Kyi that assessed the situation ruled that the mining contract should be honored for the sake of good relations with China, and to reassure other foreign investors.China is not the only investor to face scrutiny over its projects: A nongovernmental group, MekongWatch, has been lobbying on behalf of some 3,900 villagers who were ordered to vacate land to make way for the Thilawa special economic zone. "The Myanmar government says they are squatters and until recently the Japanese government said it was the responsibility of the recipient government to do something," said Yuki Akimoto, a spokeswoman for the group. Akimoto said she was thinking hard about how to broach the issue with Suu Kyi in a planned meeting in Tokyo, given the various complications of the issue. As is often the case, land titles and ownership remain unclear, and a surge in property prices in booming Yangon is prompting speculative buying. But ultimately, it is the poor who are most likely to lose their livelihoods. "Despite the so-called reforms, there are few tools ordinary citizens can use to protect their rights," she said.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV