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Home > Main Library > Economy > Investment in Burma/Myanmar > The debate (political, social and economic) on investment in Burma

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The debate (political, social and economic) on investment in Burma
See also Activism and Campaigns and Sanctions

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Challenges for foreign investors in Myanmar
Date of publication: 18 October 2013
Description/subject: "Almost three years after the new regime known as ‘the democratically elected government’ took power in Naypyidaw, there have been many foreign investors looking into the once-isolated country for their foreign direct investment opportunities. The IMF recently even predicted that the new emerging country would be an Asian frontier or an Asian Tiger if the reform process keeps going on the right track. However, many investors have hesitated to do business in the country. Actually, there are a lot of investment opportunities inside the country such as telecommunications, agriculture, various natural resources, mineral, and fisheries etc. Naypyidaw has earnestly welcomed those investments. For instance, last month Myanmar’s foreign minister said at the Asia Society in New York, referring to American investors, “I wish to take this opportunity to invite more U.S. business firms and investors to get up and join the gold rush to Myanmar.” However, Naypyidaw expresses at the same time its frustration when holding receptions for hundreds of potential foreign investors: “investors come talk with us, and then turn away.” So a question is: why have those investors turned away? Why are they still waiting?..."
Author/creator: Aung Tun
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2014


Title: Invest Myanmar: Tapping a New Asian Tiger
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: Final frontier - The rise and rise of Myanmar. "After more than 50 years of stagnation Myanmar is finally opening its doors to investment from the outside world. As well as sitting between the regional heavyweights of China and India, Myanmar offers incredible investment opportunities in energy, mining, infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and so much more that led the International Monetary Fund to brand the country as Asia’s “final frontier”. Read inside for your guide to investing in Myanmar..."....."Farmers can benefit with good policies" - Myo Lwin and Victoria Bruce..."Beckoning investments in agriculture": Australian Professor, Michael Montesano, shares his thoughts with Myo Lwin, editor for special publications of The Myanmar Times on how the agriculture sector can be improved..."Opportunities on the horizon for telecoms companies - Government moves to fast-track development of Myanmar's telecom's industry into the 21st Century is (sic) peaking foreign interest. With a large untapped market, huge infrastructure challenges, and opportunities for joint ventures touted, the future looks bright for Myanmar telecoms." ..."Myanmar’s ICT industry is in the forefront of discussions as the country needs to embrace technology to integrate into the global economy"..."Myanmar opens up to new investments" - Aye Thidar Kyaw..."Investment in tourism looks set to reach new heights" - Zaw Win Than..."Crisis management key to good investment" - Aye Sapay Phyu..."Laws hold back rush of interest in mining sector": "Lacking in business transparency, Myanmar’s mining sector remains beyond the scope for many, but intrepid investors are showing interest" - "Everything seems negotiable – but no one’s going to sign that kind of deal, its just not profitable" Victoria Bruce...“If they doubt, it will be too late” In an interview with retired director general of the Ministry of Energy, U Soe Myint, The Myanmar Times enquired about the prospects of foreign investment in the country’s oil and gas sector". Myo Lwin and Naw Say Phaw Wa..."Myanmar’s small business not ready for competition" Victoria Bruce..."Easing of sanctions offers mixed encouragement for investors" Victoria Bruce..."What happens after sanctions?" Tim Harcourt..."Growth slows in Chinese overseas investments"..."Investors choice of local partner crucial - While foreign investors desperately want to come here, it’s not attractive right now" . Victoria Bruce..."Banking sector comes under spotlight" Victoria Bruce..."South Korea: an investment partner" - In an exclusive commentary for The Myanmar Times by the South Korean ambassador to Myanmar, Mr Kim Hae-yong shares his views on the potential of foreign investment for the country’s development and where South Korea can help" Kim Hae-yong... "Information proves the latest hot commodity" Victoria Bruce..."Moves to limit FDI in certain sectors ’retrograde’" Victoria Bruce..."Information is key for 'enormous opportunities" Ben White..."Land prices hold back property investment" Victoria Bruce..."Local entrepreneurs welcome FDI, slam government bias" Htar Htar Khin...“Local businesses need to be smart and clever”
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: pdf (3.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 11 September 2012


Title: Burma Day 2005 - Selected Documents
Description/subject: Burma Day 2005 - Selected Documents... Supporting Burma/Myanmar’s National Reconciliation Process - Challenges and Opportunities... Brussels, Tuesday 5th April 2005... Most of the papers and reports focus on the "Independent Report" written for the conference by Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen. They range from macroeconomic critique to historical and procedural comment.
Language: English
Source/publisher: European Commission
Format/size: html, Word
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Title: Business and Human Rights, a resource website: Burma (Myanmar)
Description/subject: A rich seam of news items, articles and long reports on Burma from 1996. Go to the Home page for more general material. "information from: · United Nations & ILO · companies · human rights, development, labour & environmental organisations · governments · academics · See the section on the UNOCAL case in "Lawsuits against companies: Selected major cases", journalists · etc..."
Author/creator: Chris Avery
Language: English
Source/publisher: Business and Human Rights
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Business and Human Rights: a resource website
Description/subject: Frequently-updated links to news items, guidelines, reports, articles, United Nations and ILO documents, company policies, lawsuits against companies, other websites. Plus 56 hits for Burma OR Myanmar (September 2001). Very rich and useful source. Recommended. Sectors: Agriculture Aircraft/Airline Apparel industry: General Clothing & textile Footwear Arms/Weapons Asbestos Auditing, consulting & accounting Auto rental Automobile & other motor vehicles Baby food & baby milk Battery Bicycle Biotechnology Carpet & rug Ceramics Chemical Chocolate Cleaning products Clothing & textile Coffee Construction & building equipment/materials Cookware Cosmetics Diamond Diversified/Conglomerates Dye Electrical appliance Energy & electricity Express delivery Fabric & yarn Fertiliser Finance & banking Fire extinguisher Fireworks Fishing Food & beverage Footwear Furniture Garden supply Glass Health care Hotel Industrial gases Insurance Jewelry Law firms Logging & lumber Machine tools Manufacturing Media Medical equipment Metals & steel Military/defence Mining Oil, gas & coal Packaging Paint Paper Pesticide Pharmaceutical Photographic Plastics Printing Publishing Railroad Real estate Refrigerator & refrigerant Restaurants Retail Rubber Shipping, ship-building & ship-scrapping Slaughterhouses Sporting goods Stone quarries Sugar Supermarkets Tanneries Tea Technology, telecommunications & electronics Tobacco Tourism Toy Trucking Waste disposal Water. See also the section on the UNOCAL case in "Lawsuits against companies: Selected major cases". Good section on tourism.
Author/creator: Chris Avery
Language: English
Source/publisher: Business and Human Rights
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: EarthRights International: Burma Project
Description/subject: "EarthRights International's Burma Project collects vital on-the-ground information about the human rights and environmental situation in Burma. Since 1995, ERI has worked in Burma to monitor the impacts of the military regime's policies and activities on local populations and ecosystems. ERI's staff has gathered a vast body of valuable, rare information about the state of the military regime's war on its peoples and its environment. Through gathering testimonies, grassroots organizing, and distributing information through campaign work, the Burma Project has made a significant contribution to human rights and environment protection in Burma. Where possible, we link our grassroots fact-finding missions and community organizing with regional and international level advocacy and campaigning. We work alongside affected community groups to prevent human rights and environmental abuses associated with large-scale development projects in Burma. Currently, the Burma Project focuses on large-scale dams, oil and gas development, and mining. We share experiences and resources with local communities, as well as provide assistance relevant to community needs. Over the past 10 years the Burma Project has raised awareness about the alarming depletion of resources in Burma and their relationship to a vast array of human rights abuses, as well as the local, national, and regional implications of these practices."...Sections on Dams, Mining, Oil & Gas and Other Areas of Work.
Language: English
Source/publisher: EarthRights International
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.earthrights.org
http://www.earthrights.org/taxonomy/term/148
Date of entry/update: 20 August 2010


Title: Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Description/subject: Interfaith investment funds, Shareholder action, corporate responsibility, corporate accountability, selective purchasing, sanctions, business in Burma, divstment, companies, corporations, Halliburton, Unocal, Total, MOGE etc... search for Burma, Unocal etc.
Language: English
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Description/subject: Search for Burma. "Corporate accountability and environmental awareness: We monitor U.S.-based corporations in Asian countries where human rights abuses have been well-documented, such as Burma, and where continued manufacturing will escalate environmental destruction, such as Thailand and Indonesia. The treasury departments of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, the Maryknoll Sisters and the Maryknoll Mission Association of the Faithful also closely follow corporate responsibility issues." Shareholder action, boycotts etc. Good links page to other corporate responsibility sites.
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Trillium Asset Management
Description/subject: Socially responsible investment, selective purchasing, shareholder action, corporate withdrawal, disinvestment etc.
Language: English
Format/size: Search for Burma
Date of entry/update: 20 August 2010


Title: USA Engage - results of a search for "burma"
Description/subject: "...USA*ENGAGE brings together Americans from all regions, sectors and segments of our society to speak out for a more effective foreign policy. Even though a large number of American companies, farmers, and workers are hurt by sanctions that take away US export markets and undermine our international competitiveness, Congress and the Administration cannot hear from only activists promoting a narrow sanctions agenda. A large coalition provides the voice to ensure that American policy-makers listen to all interested parties, including those who oppose sanctions..."
Language: html
Source/publisher: USA Engage
Alternate URLs: http://www.usaengage.org/
Date of entry/update: 08 February 2005


Individual Documents

Title: Joint Comment on the Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment in Burma
Date of publication: 04 October 2012
Description/subject: "After submitting a detailed comment [MAIN URL] to the US Department of State expressing concern over weak reporting requirements for US companies considering investing in Burma, EarthRights International, Freedom House, Physicians for Human Rights, U.S. Campaign for Burma and United to End Genocide issued the following statement: “We continue to be deeply concerned by the US government’s decision to lift all remaining sanctions, and allow corporations unrestricted investment access to Burma despite widespread corruption, ongoing human rights violations and a total lack of rule of law. Although US companies will be required to report on their investments, the current requirements lack specificity about enforcement and consequences for non-compliance. Furthermore, existing loopholes enable companies to designate information as ‘confidential’ as a way to avoid public scrutiny. The US government should take immediate steps to ensure that there is a strong regulatory framework that can effectively promote accountability and transparency..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) et al
Format/size: pdf (135K; html)
Alternate URLs: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/press/press-releases/deplorable-weak-reporting-requirements-for-us-investment-in-burma.html
Date of entry/update: 07 October 2012


Title: Invest Myanmar: Tapping a New Asian Tiger (Burmese)
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: ေနာက္ဆံုးမ်က္ႏွာစာ... တဆင့္ၿပီး တဆင့္တိုးတက္လာေသာ ျမန္မာ... ရင္းႏွီး ျမႇပ္ႏွံလိုသူေတြ အေနနဲ႔ ဒြိဟျဖစ္ၿပီး ေစာင့္ေန ရင္ ေနာက္က် မွာပဲ... ျမန္မာေဆာက္လုပ္ေရး ေလာကအတြက္ ေကာင္းဖို႔လား၊ ဆိုးဖို႔လား (ႏိုင္ငံျခားသား လုပ္ငန္းရွင္ေတြ နည္းတူ ျပည္တြင္း လုပ္ငန္းရွင္ေတြ ကိုလည္း အခြန္ကင္းလြတ္ခြင့္ တန္းတူ ေပးဖို႔ ေဆာက္လုပ္ေရးေလာက က အလုိရွိေနၾကပါတယ္)... ပြင့္လင္းျမင္သာမႈ နဲ႔ ႏုိင္ငံေရးတည္ၿငိမ္ မႈ ေမွ်ာ္လင့္လွ်က္ရွိ... ႏိုင္ငံတကာေလေၾကာင္း လိုင္းေတြ ျပည္တြင္းျပည္ပ ခရီးစဥ္ သစ္ေတြ စီစဥ္ေန... ရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံသူနည္းစရာ အေၾကာင္းေတာ့ မရွိပါဘူး... ႏိုင္ငံျခား ရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံသူေတြ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္နည္းပဲ က်င့္သံုးေနၾကဆဲ... ေတာင္ကိုရီးယားဖြ႔ံၿဖိဳးမႈမ်ားကို ဆန္းစစ္ၾကည့္ရာ၀ယ္... ျမန္မာ အက္စ္အမ္အီးေတြ ႏိုင္ငံျခား ကုမၸဏီေတြနဲ႔ တန္းတူ အခြင့္အေရး ရလို... ျမန္မာ့စီးပြားေရး ဖြံၿဖိဳးတိုးတက္ေစႏိုင္မယ့္ ေတာင္ကိုရီးယားရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံမႈ... ျပည္တြင္း ဆက္သြယ္ေရးကုမၸဏီ သံုးခု ျပည္ပ ကုမၸဏီမ်ားနဲ႔ ဖက္စပ္လုပ္ကိုင္မယ္... ရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံမႈ မစတင္မီ ေစ်းကြက္ သုေတသန လုပ္ဖို႔ အလြန္အေရးပါ... ဘဏ္လုပ္ငန္း ပိုၿပီးအာရံုစိုက္ျပဳျပင္ဖို႔ လိုအပ္လာ... စီးပြားေရးနာလံ ထူႏိုင္ဖို႔ လမ္းသစ္ကို သြားေနတဲ့ ေျခလွမ္းတခ်ဳိ႔ ... ေျမေစ်း က ႏိုင္ငံျခား ရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံမႈကို ဟန္႔တားေန... သဘာ၀ ကပ္ေဘးဆိုင္ရာ စီမံခန္႔ခြဲမႈ ေကာင္းေတြလည္း လုိအပ္... အထူးစီးပြားေရးဇုန္ စီမံကိန္း ျမန္ျမန္အေကာင္ အထည္ေဖာ္ရန္တိုက္တြန္း... ပိတ္ဆို႔မႈေတြဟာ စီးပြားေရး အတြက္ အေႏွာင့္အယွက္
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: pdf (2.53MB)
Date of entry/update: 15 September 2012


Title: What Myanmar Can Learn on FDI from Other East Asian Countries: Positive and Negative Effects of FDI
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: "The government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has announced a series of political and economic reforms since Mr. Thein Sein became the first president in March 2011. More than a few companies which had hesitated to invest in Myanmar from the EU, the United States, Japan and ASEAN have now started to seek a way to invest in the country effectively with minimal risk. Many other companies, however, have not changed their “wait and see” attitude without making a decision to invest in Myanmar. Nevertheless, for the Myanmar government, it is necessary to make adequate preparations for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) irrespective of the realization of an investment boom in the country. Here, in order to give input to the government and business community of Myanmar, we would like to consider the positive and negative effects of FDI in accordance with the experiences of other East Asian countries..." ...The Burmese version was publised in the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commers & Industry, Vol.16 No.11, November 2012.
Author/creator: Masami ISHIDA
Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: IDE-JETRO Policy Review on Myanmar Economy No. 6
Format/size: pdf (English-75K; Burmese-912K-OBL version,1.3MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/IDE-Myanmar06bu-red.pdf
http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Download/Brc/PolicyReview/pdf/06_Burmese.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2012


Title: US/Burma: Don’t Lift Sanctions Too Soon Safeguards Needed Before Allowing Investment, Financial Services
Date of publication: 15 May 2012
Description/subject: "The US government should not ease sanctions on business activities in Burma until adequate safeguards are in place to prevent new investment from fueling human rights abuses. A US presidential order imposing a ban on investment and financial services in Burma is scheduled to expire on May 20, 2012, unless it is renewed or revised. In early April, in response to Burmese government pledges of reform and electoral gains by Burma’s main opposition party, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the US government was prepared to relax certain business-related sanctions. A new presidential order easing business restrictions is expected to be issued soon. “The US government should not reward the Burmese government’s nascent and untested changes by allowing an unregulated business bonanza,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Tough rules are needed to ensure that new investments benefit the people of Burma and don’t fuel human rights abuses and corruption, or end up strengthening the military’s control over civilian authorities.”..."
Language: Engish
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 May 2012


Title: Myanmar rush risks undermining progress
Date of publication: 05 May 2012
Description/subject: "As governments continue to discuss how to ease sanctions in Myanmar, fears are increasing that a sudden massive influx of foreign investment could be detrimental to the delicate ongoing transition. "I see a rush of over-investment, to the extent that things that can be done to slow down investment may be in the long-term interest of the country," Lex Rieffel, an economist and Southeast Asia expert with the Brookings Institution, said on Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Washington. 'I can assure you that even if we keep sanctions in place, there is going to be plenty of investment in this country. But what we will probably see is underinvestment in people - the government is currently meeting with every Tom, Dick and Harry, but there is no time being set aside for important decision-making or implementation.'..."
Author/creator: Carey L Biron
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Times Onlie
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 May 2012


Title: The Lady and the generals meet half-way
Date of publication: 06 April 2012
Description/subject: "Myanmar's highly anticipated by-elections, held on April 1 for some 45 parliamentary seats, has borne its first diplomatic fruit. The United States announced a relaxation of certain economic sanctions and movement on the resumption of full diplomatic relations with Naypyidaw in reward for the country's recent democratic progress. However, the opposition National League for Democracy's landslide victory of 43 out of the 45 seats may be somewhat overstated and questions remain about the sincerity of President Thein Sein's government's commitment to sustainable reform..."
Author/creator: Brian McCartan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Times Online
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 April 2012


Title: Not open for business: Despite elections, investor risk remains high in Burma
Date of publication: April 2012
Description/subject: "...Burma has vast oil, gas, hydropower and mineral potential, located mainly in the ethnic minority regions which continue to be areas of conflict. Keen on tapping these resources, the international business community is already a forceful advocate for overturning the sanctions regime and is actively scouting investment prospects. In particular, major oil companies – Chevron, Total and Exxon Mobil – are seeking to further penetrate Burma’s market. While international sanctions have limited investment over the last decade, foreign direct investment has recently increased. Foreign investment from 2010 to 2011 represents nine times the cumulative foreign investment between 2006 and 2010, with a staggering percentage benefiting the energy and extractive industries. Investors should exercise extreme caution. Burma is a volatile area for investors, without the rule of law and without constitutional assurances that the judiciary will protect property or investments. Despite economic reforms over the past year, the military continues to dominate the Burmese economy. It controls the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings which manages the gem trade and the banking and construction industries. It also oversees the Myanmar Economic Corporation which controls economic activities as varied as tourism, trading companies and the sale of petroleum and natural gas. The recent reforms and election results provide reasons for cautious optimism in Burma, but the transition is tenuous and incomplete. Given the integration of the military in all aspects of Burma and its historically poor record of democratization and human rights abuse, the international community must seek to use every avenue of engagement with Burma to ensure the establishment of accountability mechanisms to protect human rights. Such mechanisms may be most important of all in the resource-rich ethnic minority regions..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Conflict Risk Network
Format/size: pdf (730K - OBL version; 849K- original)
Alternate URLs: http://endgenocide.org/images/uploads/downloads/burma-not-open-for-business.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 April 2012


Title: Myanmar lures Singapore Inc
Date of publication: 20 March 2012
Description/subject: "Singapore Inc is in hot pursuit of business opportunities in Myanmar, where a recent reform drive aims to lure more foreign direct investment. A long time ally to Myanmar's former military regime, Singapore is well placed to reap first-mover advantages vis-a-vis Western countries that maintain but are slowly lifting economic sanctions against the country. Last month, a delegation representing 74 Singapore-based companies traveled to Myanmar for networking and business matching with Myanmar counterparts in construction, education, finance, infrastructure and logistics. Organized by the trade promotion groups Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the trip featured site visits, the signing of a memorandum of understanding to promote economic relations and trade ties, and courtesy calls on reformist President Thein Sein and many of his ministers..."
Author/creator: Megawati Wijaya
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Times Online
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 May 2012


Title: BLOOD MONEY: A Grounded Theory of Corporate Citizenship -- Myanmar (Burma) as a Case in Point
Date of publication: 2009
Description/subject: "...In this inquiry I have explored the multiple interactions between corporate, state and civil society actors through which understandings of ‘responsible’ corporate engagement in Myanmar are created, enacted and transformed. I have identified and conceptualised four social processes at work in these interactions, which I describe in the grounded theories of: (1) Commercial Diplomacy (describing the use of enterprise as a conduit for foreign policy by states, particularly as it relates to ‘ethical’ business activity) (2) Stakeholder Activism (critiquing the aims and strategies of transnational civil society organisations who advocate for ‘responsible’ corporate engagement) (3) Corporate Engagement (explaining variation in the motivations and terms of corporate engagement, specifically different forms of divestment or engagement, as strategic responses to stakeholder activism, commercial diplomacy and other factors which influence the enterprise context) (4) Constructive Corporate Engagement (a conceptual framework, grounded in multiple stakeholder-views and drawing from the international development discourses of state fragility and human security, for considering the potentially constructive impacts of corporate engagement). Working within and between these four theories, I generated an overarching grounded theory of (5) Corporate Citizenship in Fragile States. From these theories I offer a critical analysis of Corporate Citizenship as the normative basis for a new articulation between the economic, social and political spheres in pursuit of a more equitable global order..."
Author/creator: Nicola M. Black
Language: English
Source/publisher: Te Waananga o Waikato (The University of Waikato)
Format/size: html; pdf (3.5MB) (553 pages)
Alternate URLs: http://www.nickyblack.com/Nicky_Black/Corporate_Citizenship_and_Myanmar.html (Chapter-by-chapter)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs08/BM-Complete-NBlack%202009-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 April 2010


Title: TOTAL Oil: fuelling the oppression in Burma
Date of publication: February 2005
Description/subject: " Burma is ruled by a military dictatorship renowned for both oppressing and impoverishing its people, while enriching itself and the foreign businesses that work with it. TOTAL Oil, the fourth largest oil company in the world, is in business with Burma’s dictatorship. It has been in Burma since 1992 against the wishes of Burma’s elected leaders, many of whom are being detained by the Junta. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader, has said that “Total has become the main supporter of the Burmese military regime.” . She told the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur that "TOTAL knew what it was doing when it invested massively in Burma while others withdrew from the market for ethical reasons”. She added, “the company must accept the consequences. The country will not always be governed by dictators.” The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won 82 percent of the seats in Burma’s 1990 election. It has called on foreign companies not to invest in Burma because of the role investment plays in perpetuating dictatorship in that country. All the major ethnic leaderships from Burma have whole-heartedly supported this position too. Therefore, the mandate from which companies are asked not to invest in Burma comes from within the country. This report gathers together much of the available evidence relating to TOTAL’s role in fuelling the oppressive dictatorship in Burma. Broadly, it covers human rights abuses associated with TOTAL’s gas pipeline, TOTAL’s financing of Burma’s dictatorship and TOTAL’s influence on French foreign policy and therefore on European Burma policy as a whole. TOTAL’s presence in Burma has consequences far beyond its 63-kilometre pipeline across Burmese territory. Its destructive influence goes to the heart of international policy towards one of the world’s most brutal regimes. For that reason it is essential for all those who want change in Burma to deal with the problem of TOTAL Oil. As long as TOTAL remains in Burma, the dictatorship will be satisfied that the chances of real pressure against it are unlikely. This report has been produced to coincide with the launch of a new international campaign calling for TOTAL’s withdrawal from Burma. The campaign comprises 43 organisations across 18 countries..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Burma Campaign, UK
Format/size: pdf (691K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.birmaniademocratica.org/ViewDocument.aspx?docid=90228f917e4a42a09445256a9e2459d9
Date of entry/update: 04 July 2010


Title: Doing Business with Burma - report
Date of publication: 25 January 2005
Description/subject: What are the consequences of investment in or trade with Burma? How does it work? Who profits? Who suffers from it?... Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. Who owns the economy? (When you do business with Burma, who do you need to deal with? Can a company have independent business links in Burma?) 3. Levels of FDI and trade; 4. How much of this money is going to the junta? Another source of income: all kinds of taxes; A possible third source of income: the exchange of foreign currency; 5. What do the generals do with this money? 6. On corruption, transparency and drugs; 7. Is there a link between FDI and politics? 8. Are there direct links between FDI and abuse of workers? 9. What is the effect of sanctions on ordinary citizens?
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
Format/size: html, pdf (262K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Doing_Business_in_or_with_Burma.pdf
Date of entry/update: 07 February 2005


Title: Traiter avec la Birmanie
Date of publication: 25 January 2005
Description/subject: Quelles sont les conséquences des investissements étrangers en Birmanie et du maintien de relations commerciales avec ce pays ? Quelles sont les règles du jeu ? Quels en sont les bénéficiaires ? Au détriment de qui ?... Table des matières:- 1. Introduction; 2. A qui appartient l’économie? (Avec qui doit-on traiter lorsqu’on veut faire du commerce avec la Birmanie? Une firme étrangère peut-elle avoir des contacts commerciaux à titre indépendant en Birmanie? 3. Volume d’IDE (investissements directs étrangers) et flux commerciaux; 4. Quelle partie de cet argent finit-elle dans les caisses de la junte? Autre source de revenus: les taxes en tous genres; Troisième source de revenus: le change de devises étrangères ; 5. Que font les généraux de tout cet argent? 6. Corruption, transparence et trafic de drogue; 7. Existe-t-il un lien entre l’IDE et la politique? 8. Y a-t-il des liens directs entre IDE et abus des droits des travailleurs? 9. Quelle est l’incidence des sanctions sur les citoyens ordinaires?
Language: Francais, French
Source/publisher: Confédération internationale des syndicats libres (CISL)
Format/size: pdf (299K)
Date of entry/update: 08 February 2005


Title: In Our Court: ATCA, Sosa, and the Triumph of Human Rights
Date of publication: 27 July 2004
Description/subject: Washington, D.C. – EarthRights International's new report, "In Our Court: ATCA, Sosa, and the Triumph of Human Rights," analyzes the history of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), its use in human rights cases over the past two decades, and the political debate between the human rights community, the business lobby, and the Bush Administration over how ATCA should be used. "In Our Court" is the first report to trace the use of ATCA and provide a comprehensive discussion of how and why it has become an important tool for human rights advancement, and why it has come under attack by the business community and the Bush Administration. Using case studies from Burma, Nigeria, and Sudan, the report explains the need for ATCA and the link between the victims of human rights violations and the corporations that have gained from the abuse. The U.S. Supreme Court's June 2004 decision on Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain was a victory for human rights groups such as EarthRights International and the victims they represent. The Supreme Court ruled that ATCA continues to afford non-citizens a way to sue perpetrators of egregious human rights abuses in U.S. federal courts. Concluding with a legal analysis of the Sosa decision, "In Our Court" explores the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling for victims of human rights abuses, their defenders, corporations, and the Administration, and makes recommendations for preserving the ability of victims and survivors to seek legal redress in U.S. courts.
Language: English
Source/publisher: EarthRights International
Format/size: html (219K),
Date of entry/update: 25 August 2004


Title: Reconciling Burma/Myanmar: Essays on U.S. Relations with Burma
Date of publication: 03 March 2004
Description/subject: Free access not available anymore! The document needs to be purchased. Foreword: "An intellectual “tectonic shift” is underway, making a precarious policy even harder to justify. This rather unusual issue of the NBR Analysis does not stem from an NBR-sponsored project or study. Instead, it emerged as an initiative from an extraordinary assemblage of Burma scholars, all of whom regard last year’s announcement of a “road map” for constitutional change, the ongoing progress toward cease-fires with ethnic insurgents, and the worsening impact of sanctions on the general populace, as an opportunity to re-examine U.S. relations with Burma. Recognizing that the current situation may be conducive to taking a fresh perspective, and noting the significance of so many top Burma specialists reaching similar conclusions and working together, we decided to publish their essays. The scholars in this volume represent a range of perspectives. What is especially notable is that they collaborated in this enterprise and concur that the U.S. policy of sanctions is not achieving its worthy objective—progress toward constitutional change and democratization in Burma. Moreover, as some of these authors argue, viewing U.S.-Burma relations solely through this lens, important as it is, may be harming other U.S. strategic interests in Southeast Asia, both in terms of the ongoing war against terrorism and long-term objectives regarding the United States’ role as a regional security guarantor. The desperate humanitarian situation in the country, as detailed in many of these essays, and concerns about possible WMD-related activities only underscore the importance of looking at this issue again. U.S. policymakers in particular ought to consider whether it is now appropriate to take a more realistic, engaged approach, while easing restrictions on humanitarian assistance, programs to build civil society, and the forces of globalization that are needed for the Burmese peoples’ socio-economic progress and solid transition to civilian government and democracy..." Richard J. Ellings, President, The National Bureau of Asian Research... "Strategic Interests in Myanmar" - John H. Badgley; "Myanmar’s Political Future: Is Waiting for the Perfect the Enemy of Doing the Possible?" - Robert H. Taylor; "Burma/Myanmar: A Guide for the Perplexed?" - David I. Steinberg; "King Solomon’s Judgment" - Helen James; "The Role of Minorities in the Transitional Process" - Seng Raw; "Will Western Sanctions Bring Down the House?" - Kyaw Yin Hlaing; "The Crisis in Burma/Myanmar: Foreign Aid as a Tool for Democratization" - Morten B. Pedersen;
Author/creator: John H. Badgley (Ed.); Robert H. Taylor, David I. Steinberg, Helen James, Seng Raw, Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Morten B. Pedersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: "NBR Analysis" Vol.15, No. 1, March 2004 (The National Bureau of Asia Research)
Format/size: pdf (261K)
Date of entry/update: 29 February 2004


Title: The European Union and Burma: The Case for Targeted Sanctions
Date of publication: March 2004
Description/subject: Executive Summary: The political stalemate in Burma will not be broken until the military regime considers it to be in its own self-interest to commence serious negotiations with the democratic and ethnic forces within the country. This paper outlines how the international community can bring about a political and economic situation which will foster such negotiations. Burma is ruled by a military dictatorship renowned for both oppressing and impoverishing its people, while enriching itself and the foreign businesses that work with it. The regime continues to ignore the 1990 electoral victory of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. The regime has shown no commitment to three years of UN mediation efforts. It has failed to end the practice of forced labour as required by its ILO treaty obligations and demanded by the International Labour Organization. It continues to persecute Burma’s ethnic peoples. It continues to detain more than 1,350 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi. Any proposal of a road map to political change in Burma will fail to bring about democracy in this country unless it is formulated and executed in an atmosphere in which fundamental political freedoms are respected, all relevant stakeholders are included and committed to negotiate, a time frame for change is provided, space is provided for necessary mediation, and the restrictive and undemocratic objectives and principles imposed by the military through the National Convention (ensuring continued military control even in a “civilian” state) are set aside.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Campaign UK
Format/size: pdf (120K)
Date of entry/update: 28 March 2004


Title: Wege aus der Isolation. Birmas nationaler und internationaler Aussöhnungsprozess
Date of publication: August 2003
Description/subject: Zu Beginn der neunziger Jahre reagierten die EU und die USA auf die 1988 erfolgte Machtübernahme des Militärs in Birma und die Nichtanerkennung des 1990 errungenen Wahlsiegs der Opposition mit der öffentlichen Verurteilung dieses Regimes und einer Reihe wirtschaftlicher und politischer Sanktionen. Die ASEAN-Staaten wie auch UNO-Generalsekretär Kofi Annan setzten hingegen auf eine Strategie des »konstruktiven Engagements«, die durch einen intensiven Dialog mit der Regierung in Rangun den Weg zu politischen Reformen zu ebnen versuchte. Beide Strategien haben bislang nicht zu den beabsichtigten Ergebnissen geführt. Ausgangspunkt dieser Studie ist daher die Frage, welche Faktoren zu jener fast unauflöslich erscheinenden Konfrontation zwischen der Militärregierung einerseits und der birmanischen Opposition sowie den westlich orientierten Staaten andererseits geführt haben und welche Strategie von außen, vor allem von der EU, entwickelt werden sollte, um eine Neugestaltung der politischen Machtverhältnisse und eine Verbesserung der mehr als desolaten Lebensverhältnisse vieler Einwohner Birmas zu erzielen. Die Studie kommt zu dem Schluß, daß die politische und wirtschaftliche Krise Birmas nur durch einen langfristigen und umfassenden Transformationsprozeß bewältigt werden kann, in dem Veränderungen der sozioökonomischen Basis und der politischen Strukturen eng miteinander zu verknüpfen sind. Von Seiten des Auslands - nicht zuletzt der EU - kann und sollte dieser Transformationsprozeß nach Kräften und in den unterschiedlichsten Bereichen gefördert werden. Hierbei müssen positive Anreize und Druck einander nicht ausschließen, sondern es wäre im jeweiligen Einzelfall zu prüfen, ob eine Zusammenarbeit möglich und nützlich erscheint oder aber verweigert werden muß. Ways out of isolation, Burma's national and international reconciliation process, transition and democratisation
Author/creator: Gerhard Will
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 July 2005


Title: Corporate Engagement Project, Yadana Project Myanmar/Burma, May 2003 (2nd visit)
Date of publication: July 2003
Description/subject: "The Corporate Engagement Project (CEP) is a collaborative effort, involving multinational corporations that operate in areas of socio-political tensions or conflict. Its purpose is to help corporate managers better understand the impacts of corporate activities on the contexts in which they work. Based on site visits, CEP aims to identify and analyze the challenges for corporations that recur across companies and across contexts. Based on the patterns that emerge, CEP develops management tools and practical options for management practices that respond to local challenges and address stakeholder issues. In this context, Doug Fraser, Independent Consultant, and Luc Zandvliet, Project Director of CEP, visited Myanmar from April 22 – May 3, 2003 to visit the Yadana pipeline project, operated by Total, as a follow up to our first visit conducted in October 2002. This visit was the second CEP visit to the Yadana Project in what is planned as a series of three visits. To avoid duplication, this report should be read in combination with the first report (available at http://www.cdainc.com/cep/cep-casestudylist.htm). Our purpose, as in all CEP field visits, was to examine the interaction between corporate operations and surrounding communities, as well as the impact of corporate operations on the wider context of conflict. The CEP team intends to visit Thailand to explore allegations from several international NGOs that people originating from the pipeline area were displaced into Thailand. If people had to leave Myanmar/Burma recently for reasons related to the pipeline or the presence of oil companies, this would be important for CEP to know. The trip will serve the following purposes: ! To learn additional information related to the impact of the pipeline on local civilians. We want to address the possibility that we only hear positive stories about the pipeline from people currently residing in the corridor, while people that were possibly forced to leave the corridor might tell of a different reality. ! To verify why CDA’s observations in the pipeline area differ from the observations in some of the reports produced by international NGOs about the impact of the pipeline on the local contexts. ! To explore rumors in the business community in Thailand and Myanmar/Burma (and among NGOs themselves) that some NGOs make a “business” of producing allegations against companies, based on testimonies from Myanmar/Burmese refugees. This is of concern to CEP because if CEP is unable to confirm allegations that “NGOs fabricate “evidence,” it supports the credibility of the NGOs that make allegations or advocate on behalf of Myanmar/Burmese refugees. On the other side, if the fabrication of evidence is confirmed, this would support sentiments in the business community that allegations should not be taken seriously. This undermines the ability of individuals with genuine grievances against companies to be heard. CONCLUSION: The second visit to the Yadana pipeline confirmed the positive impact that the presence of the oil companies currently has on the population within the pipeline corridor. It is also evident that these positive impacts in the pipeline corridor will not convince outside critics about Total’s positive contribution to the country at large. The company will continue to be criticized and remain vulnerable to outside pressure from some stakeholders until it is better able to address concerns on the larger socio-political context in the country. The single most important observation revealed in this report is the need for the co-investors to develop a vision of the role they want to play in Myanmar/Burma and the strategy they will use to achieve this. With a clear vision and strategy, efforts to achieve this outcome can be focused, and new working partnerships can be built and nurtured. Within these, creative solutions to the challenges of working in Myanmar can be formulated."
Author/creator: Luc Zandvliet and Doug Fraser
Language: English
Source/publisher: Collaborative for Development Action
Format/size: pdf (285 KB)
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: Multinational Enterprises in Situations of Violent Conflict and Widespread Human Rights Abuses
Date of publication: May 2002
Description/subject: "In response to enquiries about foreign investment in Myanmar, the Committee for International Investment and Multinational Enterprises (CIME) asked the Secretariat to prepare a paper, under the responsibility of the latter, that would provide background information to interested parties. This paper was not only to shed light on business activity in Myanmar, but also to consider the broader challenges of conducting business responsibly in countries characterised by civil strife and extensive human rights violations. The present paper responds to this request and focuses on issues that are of particular relevance to extractive industries. This sector?s share of global investment is quite small, but its significance for particular host societies is large and the underlying issues for corporate responsibility affect the welfare of millions of people. While not ignoring the problems that have arisen in connection with multinational enterprise activity in troubled host countries, this paper also seeks to promote and highlight the positive roles that some companies have played in the search for solutions to these countries? very complex problems..."
Author/creator: Kathryn Gordon
Language: English
Source/publisher: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Format/size: PDF (186 KB) 35 pages
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: BURMA: COMPANIES, NGOs AND THE NEW DIPLOMACY
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "Burma, also known as Myanmar, is an important case study in wider international debates on the politics of sanctions versus constructive engagement, and the role of companies and NGOs in controversial states. Since 1962 Burma has been ruled by a succession of military and quasi-military regimes. All the main political actors, including the armed forces, agree that it should eventually return to some form of democratic rule. The questions are: when and by what route? And how, if at all, can the international community assist? One of the most important features of the Burma debate is the role played by non-state actors – particularly NGOs, but also companies. A loose coalition of advocacy groups has put pressure on Western governments to impose sanctions on Burma, and on companies to withdraw from the country. Petroleum companies, in particular, have been accused of collaborating with an illegitimate regime. But such campaigns raise further questions: what role should advocacy groups play in foreign policy-making? And what are the real responsibilities of international companies in controversial states?..."
Author/creator: John Bray
Language: English
Source/publisher: Royal Institute for International Affairs (Briefing Papers, New Series No. 24)
Format/size: pdf (68 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.eldis.org/assets/Docs/11176.html
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: Myanmar Case Perpetuates False Analogies
Date of publication: 17 April 2000
Description/subject: The case before the U.S. Supreme Court on the right of Massachusetts and several California localities to promulgate regulations on foreign trade—specifically, to impose sanctions on Myanmar, formerly Burma, for human-rights violations—is a clear test of the post-Cold War maxim to "think globally, act locally."
Author/creator: Catharin Dalpino
Language: English
Source/publisher: Brookings Institute
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2000/0417southasia_dalpino.aspx?p=1
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: No Happy Medium for Hardliners
Date of publication: February 2000
Description/subject: The SPDC is seeking new ways to tell the world that Burma is open for business. But it is having a hard time finding a medium that doesn't threaten to open the floodgates of political debate.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 2 (Businss section)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Date of publication: 2000
Description/subject: "The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are non-binding recommendations to enterprises, made by the thirty-three governments that adhere to them. Their aim is to help Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) operate in harmony with government policies and with societal expectations ..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Format/size: PDF (1.57MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Destructive Engagement: A Decade of Foreign Investment in Burma
Date of publication: October 1999
Description/subject: An Issue Paper of EarthRights International's Burma Project. Since 1988, when the Burmese military regime opened up the country to foreign investment after a generation of isolation, the country has seen no improvement on a whole range of indicators, such as education, health and poverty, that investment is supposed to help improve. Instead, investment has brought a doubling in the size of the country's army and major arms purchases that have in turn furthered the repression. Investment has also been concentrated in extractive industries, namely logging, gems and natural gas, resulting in the selling off of Burma's natural resources at alarming rates. The stream of refugees and migrants out of the country -- fleeing the human and economic devastation brought about by the regime -- is perhaps the clearest indicator that investment and business engagement with Burma are not working.
Author/creator: Tyler R. Giannini
Language: English
Source/publisher: Earthrights International
Format/size: pdf (250K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: All Along the Watchtower
Date of publication: September 1998
Description/subject: "As foreign investors flee, prices rise, and foreign reserves dwindle, many wonder how much longer Burma's military regime can hold off the rising tide of unrest...The announcement that U.S. oil giant ARCO and telecommunications powerhouse Ericsson are pulling out of Burma is one more sign that the country’s economy is both closing and collapsing. ARCO’s announcement that it was abandoning its rights to develop offshore blocks of natural gas in Burma’s Andaman Sea and Ericsson’s hasty withdrawal are only two of a number of major projects that have fallen victim to Burma’s economic collapse and political impasse. The $800 million “three-in-one” project which was to have been built by Total, Unocal and Mitsui was quietly shelved late last month. The project would have built a $300 million gas pipeline up from the Yadana pipeline to fuel a $200 million fertilizer plant and a $300 million electrical generating plant. The gas was to have come from the regime’s share of the Yadana field gas with the government and its three partners sharing construction costs..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Burmese Fairy Tale
Date of publication: 19 February 1998
Description/subject: (The writer is a pro-democracy activist and former political prisoner. She lives in Rangoon.) "Like many Burmese, l am tired of living in a fairy tale. For years, outsiders portrayed the troubles of my country as a morality play: good against evil, with no shade of gray in between-a simplistic picture, but one the world believes. The response of the West has been equally simplistic: It wages a moral crusade against evil, using such "magic wands" as sanctions and boycotts..."
Author/creator: Ma Thanegi
Language: English
Source/publisher: Far Eastern Economic Review (5th Column)
Format/size: html (11K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "The Irrawaddy" Business
Date of publication: August 1997
Description/subject: Burma row brews over US state law • UK clothing firm cuts Burmese ties •
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 4-5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "The Irrawaddy" Business
Date of publication: June 1997
Description/subject: Joint-Venture for sugar mill • Foreign cash ATMs • San Francisco bans Burmese business • Japan insurer sets foot in Burma • Divestment Movement: South Africa stle • Thailand eyes Burmese ports • Burma to join BIST-EC [to make BIMST-EC]
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: Debate on Investing in Burma
Date of publication: February 1996
Description/subject: Various articles, pro and con., including at the September 7, 1995, US Congressional hearing on "Recent Developments in Burma" which was called by the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Committee on International Relations. Excerpts from documents submitted as evidence in a lawsuit filed by Peregrine Myanmar Ltd. and Peregrine Capital Myanmar Ltd. against American businesswoman, Miriam Marshall Segal who had been doing business in Burma in one form or another for nearly two decades.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate", Vol. III, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Effect of Foreign Investment in Burma
Date of publication: 01 October 1995
Description/subject: "Everyone has heard the argument that economic sanctions never work, that the best way to encourage dictators to change their policies is to give them lots of money, then ask them to change, then give them even more money if they refuse. Economic sanctions only hurt the poor, the big investors tell us, while investment dollars "trickle down" from the generals and help everyone. Not only is there no evidence anywhere to support this argument, but in the case of Burma foreign investment directly leads to suffering..." "Even the Wall Street Journal admitted that foreign investment in Burma is wrong, stating "We have argued for commerce and investment where it strengthens civil societies vis-a-vis dictators. But these deals, by putting money directly into SLORC's pocket, only make a richer prize out of political power. The prospect of vast petrodollars gives the generals yet another reason to cling to office no matter how many bodies of their fellow citizens pile up." There is no argument for raping Burma's resources and handing money to SLORC, and it is about time investors and their governments started admitting it..."
Author/creator: Kevin Heppner (Karen Human Rights Group)
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG Articles and Papers)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003