Commercial Litigation Partner Authors Article on Attracting Businesses to Burma

The Wall Street Journal | October.03.2012

This article, authored by Hong Kong commercial litigation partner Robert Pe, discusses the new government in Burma and analyzes the laws that would need to be enacted and enforced in order for businesses to invest in the country. An excerpt from the article is included below.

Suddenly it seems as if all roads in the business world lead to Burma. Political change-a quasi-civilian administration led by President Thein Sein has started relaxing the junta's iron grip on government and Aung San Suu Kyi has been allowed to participate in the parliament-has led to economic opening as the European Union and U.S. suspend or ease sanctions.

This is attracting businesses keen to gain a first-mover advantage as Burma rejoins the global economy. Yet no one-neither Burma's government nor foreign companies-should assume the road is straight from here on out. The government faces many challenges if it wants this initial burst of enthusiasm to gather momentum.

Arguably the most important measures will concern basic rule of law. Burma is emerging from five decades as a centrally planned, closed economy led by a military junta. The government urgently needs to start building the legal infrastructure for a market economy to function and flourish.