As Myanmar Opens Up, U.S. Firms Wade In

Monday, 19 November 2012

President Obama’s visit to Myanmar Monday makes him the first sitting president to set foot in that country, which many still call Burma. He may be new to the nation, but many American corporations are already establishing a presence there. They’re taking advantage of easing U.S. economic sanctions to jump on brand new business opportunities in construction, energy, infrastructure, consumer goods and tourism in a mostly untapped market with a large population.

... Despite the headaches, American firms are heading in. GE, Coke, Pepsi, Visa, MasterCard and many more are eager to get in on a key piece of Asian real estate. The chamber is bringing a delegation of American business leaders to Myanmar in February. Even for firms with experience in the region, Myanmar is an entirely different story, and businesses have to be ready for surprises.

“You can move forward, sort of building the plane as you fly it,” says Richard Sawaya, director of USA*Engage, a business group that opposes trade sanctions.

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