On 5 September 2023, the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC“) under the State Administration Council issued the E-commerce Guidelines (“Guidelines“), followed shortly after the issuance of the Online Business Registration Order from the Department of Trade (“DOT“) under MOC. E-commerce operators in Myanmar have eagerly anticipated these long-awaited guidelines as they answer many lingering questions and serve as a comprehensive guide for a better understanding of the E-commerce ecosystem.
The Guidelines state that all E-commerce operators must register on the designated system established by the MOC and strictly adhere to all relevant laws. E-commerce operators must post essential information, including their business name, registered address, and contact details, on their websites or links on their social media pages or provide QR codes for easy access.
The Guidelines include three key annexes: Annex (A) outlines the laws and regulations that must be followed when conducting E-commerce, Annex (B) provides sample procedures for relevant registration and acquisition of legal documents based on the type of businesses involved, and Annex (C) lists the laws and rules to be followed when providing goods or services through E-commerce channels.
A specific section of the Guidelines addresses the formation of contracts in E-commerce through electronic means. If entering into contracts through electronic transactions, it is essential to comply with various laws, including but not limited to the Electronic Transaction Laws (“ETL“), the Contract Act (“CA“), and other existing laws. Furthermore, E-commerce operators must comply with the Consumer Protection Law (“CPL“) to safeguard the interests of online consumers. This underscores the importance of E-commerce operators providing accurate and detailed information about their products and services and avoiding any form of deception or misrepresentation in their product presentations.
The Guidelines also feature a dedicated section on dispute resolution relevant to E-commerce. In cases of disputes related to consumer affairs, resolution is to be sought through the CPL, while disputes arising from contracts must be addressed per the principles of CA. Copyright-related disputes are to be resolved using the relevant Copyright laws. Disputes concerning E-commerce within the union and cross-border can be resolved through out-of-court mechanisms, such as internal complaint handling and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). E-commerce operators must establish internal complaint-handling systems for addressing local and international consumer complaints, which is crucial for resolving consumer disputes and managing compensation processes.
Similarly, they must implement consumer satisfaction systems and other dispute management procedures. Consumers should have access to various online dispute-resolution and ADR systems, especially for low-value or cross-border E-commerce transactions. Alternative dispute resolution systems include arbitration, binding advice, and mediation, providing comprehensive avenues for dispute resolution. E-commerce transactions can be completed using either conventional or online payment methods. When opting for online payment methods, it is crucial to adhere to applicable laws and regulations, including the Financial Institution Law (FIL) and directives issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar (“CBM“), such as the Regulation on Mobile Financial Services and the Mobile Banking Directive. Ensuring compliance and proper implementation are essential.
E-commerce operators must comply with the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Telecommunication Law, Protection of Personal Privacy and Personal Security of Citizens Law, and other relevant existing laws. Safeguarding every individual’s freedom and data protection is a fundamental ethical obligation. E-commerce operators are encouraged to utilize Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (“PETs“) to ensure compliance with individuals’ freedom and contribute to advancing this technology.
Additionally, E-commerce operators must adhere to Trademark, Industrial Design, Patent, and Copyright Laws to avoid any direct or indirect violations of these laws’ provisions. The guidelines provide a detailed breakdown of the responsibilities of E-commerce operators concerning copyright compliance and overall platform operation. Emphasis is placed on preventing copyright infringement, promptly addressing infringement complaints, and following various regulations. Accurate seller information must be maintained, platform security ensured, and transparency upheld, while entrepreneurs are expected to avoid copyright violations and acquire necessary licenses.
Ensuring cybersecurity is a priority for E-commerce operators in Myanmar. Adopting risk-mitigation measures per local laws is essential, and consumers should receive clear and easily understandable information about security procedures. Implementing strong security measures for data protection and ensuring secure content practices are crucial. Collaboration with government agencies and private organizations to enhance cybersecurity policies is encouraged. E-commerce operators must strictly adhere to Myanmar’s tax laws and regulations, including income tax, commercial tax, and customs laws. They are responsible for fulfilling their tax obligations and may also be eligible for tax benefits per relevant legislation. Providing required tax information, adhering to customs duty rates, and complying with customs clearance procedures, including minimum value requirements, are obligatory.
Myanmar’s E-commerce operators must adhere to local laws and regulations, including official notices and instructions when engaging in cross-border E-commerce transactions. Foreign currency payments must follow the CBM’s regulations, while domestic transactions should be in Myanmar kyats. For cross-border E-commerce activities, compliance with regional and international trade agreements and bilateral agreements with other countries is also required.
It’s essential to note that failure by an E-commerce business operator to comply with the relevant legal provisions outlined in this guide may result in legal actions being taken against them.
The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.