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US-ASEAN Business Council Mission Meets Myanmar's Key Leaders

(Yangon, Myanmar) The US-ASEAN Business Council led a delegation of senior U.S. business executives to Myanmar this week, meeting with key leaders including President U Thein Sein, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, and Chair of the National League for Democracy and Member of Parliament Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The business mission offered support for Myanmar’s continued economic reforms and discussed opportunities to support Myanmar’s 2014 ASEAN Chairmanship, as well as sharing U.S. companies’ commitment to responsible investment and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.  The delegation was led by Mariano Vela, President of Unocal Myanmar Offshore, Ltd for Chevron and Chair of the Council’s Myanmar Committee, and Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council.

“One year ago, the US-ASEAN Business Council led the first U.S. business mission to Myanmar, two days after the suspension of sanctions. At that time, no U.S. company had made a new investment or set up a new office,” said Alexander Feldman of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “As we conclude our second mission, many of our members, including The Coca-Cola Company, GE, GM, Ford, Deloitte, ACE, KPMG, Cisco, and others have made investments or opened distributorships and representative offices. There is the potential for much greater investment and engagement, and this mission is intended to lay the groundwork for continued cooperation with Myanmar’s government, businesses, and people to further improve the business environment and enhance the opportunities available to Myanmar’s people.

"In our discussion with the Myanmar government, leaders outlined a series of priorities to o address, including availability of electricity, physical infrastructure, development of the agricultural sector, access to telecommunications including the internet, and skills development and education," added Feldman. "We held productive discussions around how U.S. companies might support these goals."

In Naypyitaw, the delegation was received by Myanmar’s key leaders including President U Thein Sein, Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament Thura U Shwe Mann, and Chair of the National League for Democracy Aung San Suu Kyi. The delegation was also received by the Union Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Dr. Kan Zaw, Union Minister in the President’s Office U Soe Thein, Union Minister of Energy U Than Htay, Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology U Myat Hein, Union Minister of Commerce U Win Myint, Union Minister of Health Dr. Pe Thet Khin, Central Bank Governor U Than Nyein, Union Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Lin Aung, as well as numerous Members of Parliament.

In Yangon, the delegation held a discussion with the Chief Minister of the Yangon region U Myint Swe and Deputy Minister of Labour U Myint Thein in conjunction with UMFCCI, as well as a briefing with U.S. Ambassador Derek Mitchell and his staff.

Companies participating in the mission included  ACE, AIG, AT&T, Baker & McKenzie, Caterpillar, Chevron, Cisco, Citi, ConocoPhillips, Deloitte & Touche, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, KPMG, McLarty Associates, Metlife, Merck, Oracle, P&G, RMA, TE Connectivity, and Visa.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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