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Economy

Myanmar designates 20 fields to promote investment

Foreign companies can tap benefits more easily in manufacturing, medicine

Myanmar hopes to promote foreign investment in areas such as urban development.

YANGON -- Myanmar's efforts to promote investment will target 20 newly designated fields covering 192 types of businesses and services, using a law enacted in October that makes it easier for foreign companies to receive tax benefits.

The industries covered include manufacturing, agriculture, urban development, communications and medicine, while fields such as mining and finance did not make the list.

Domestic and foreign companies now will be covered under the same investment law, while the government will relax regulations in areas such as long-term land use and local employment obligations. In principle, a foreign company investing in one of the targeted industries will be recognized for a corporate tax exemption by submitting an application. Prior to the new law, such a company needed approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission for long-term land leases or to receive tax benefits.

Though benefits will be limited to the designated industries, the range of fields chosen was larger than expected, said Ross Taylor of law firm Baker McKenzie.

The new law also tackles widening economic disparity by reducing the standard five-year corporate tax exemption to three years in parts of major cities like Yangon while raising it to seven years in less developed areas.

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