25 Jan 2018
Import/Export Procedures of Myanmar
As one of the WTO’s founding members in 1995, Myanmar is committed to developing international trade through bilateral and multilateral arrangements:
- Regional free trade agreements (FTAs) signed under the auspices of ASEAN with the following economies individually, namely China (the Chinese mainland), Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand
- Twelve bilateral investment treaties with US, Korea, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, India, Thailand, Kuwait, Laos, China, Vietnam and the Philippines
Myanmar’s key trading partners include Thailand, India and the Chinese mainland, with major items exported including fuels, minerals, agricultural products and garments. For a full analysis on trade policy see the Myanmar Market Profile on the HKTDC website.
Import and Export Requirements
In order to import or export any goods to/from Myanmar, Hong Kong companies must observe the following steps:
1. Register as an authorised company to engage in international trade (see Section 2).
2. Obtain an import or export licence. While the Myanmar government is currently liberalising requirements for obtaining an import or export licence, almost half of all 4,405 tariff items still require an import licence and most tariff items require an export licence. The key points to note in regards to import and export licences are:
- Import and export licences must be obtained from the Department of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, the applications of which are now automated (see the tradenet website). However, manual licence applications are still acceptable.
- Applications for some licences are automated but in many cases licences are issued based upon the recommendations by relevant ministries, agencies and business associations.
- For import licence applications, a processing fee from MKR250 (about US$1) to MKR50,000 (about US$40) is charged. In contrast, there is no licence fee for exports.
- Import licence requirements are reviewed on an annual basis in July of each year, with additional changes occasionally introduced during the year.
- Export licences are valid for three months after issuance and they can be extended twice (for two months and one month respectively), after which a new licence must be applied for.
3. All imports into the country must be cleared through Myanmar Customs using the Import Declaration Form. These declarations forms must be accompanied with the Customs Valuation Form and other required documents (import licence, invoice, etc.). The customs declaration and supporting documents must be submitted to Customs at the time that the goods arrive (pre-arrival processing has not yet been adopted).
Tariff Classification and Import/Export Duties
Myanmar adopts the Harmonised System (HS) and duties are collected on imports as well as some selected exports. All imports are subject to Commercial Tax (with exemptions granted to some exports). In addition, some imports are subject to excise tax (such as gasoline, alcohol and electrical appliances).
The applicable tariff rates can be found in Myanmar’s Customs Tariff (MCT) 2012 (which is currently being updated) – there are 15 total tariffs rates under MCT 2012, ranging from 0% to 40%. The applicable rates vary with the origin of the goods and a certificate of origin will need to be presented. There are three duty categories under MCT 2012:
1. Special preferential rates – applicable if there is a trade arrangement in place (e.g. ASEAN member states).
2. Preferential rates – applicable if the country has a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status with Myanmar. In 2015 Myanmar’s average MFN applied tariff was 5.6% (WTO, 2016).
3. Ordinary rates – applicable for any other country.
Commercial and special goods taxes are currently applied on export of some commodities, which include gems (15%), electricity (8%), gas (8%), crude oil (5%), teak and conversions (50%), and timber and conversions (50%).
In Myanmar, tax exemptions on exports are granted to both domestic and foreign investors. Manufacturing businesses receive 50% income tax exemption on profits accrued from exports, and commercial tax exemption will be provided if the goods are exported (though a few exceptions continue to apply).
Product Standards and Labelling Requirements
The National Standards and Quality Department of Myanmar is responsible for setting standards to which all products made in Myanmar must adhere.
Different ministries and departments in Myanmar are involved in establishing the requirements for product labelling. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Ministry of Health prescribes certain labelling rules for food and pharmaceutical products. Hong Kong companies are advised to seek advice from the relevant ministry before engaging in trade with their counterparts in Myanmar.
- Regulatory Environment
- Establishing a Presence
- Intellectual Property Protection
- Staff Recruitment
- Tax Considerations
- Import/Export Procedures
- Further Information