In the most recent development in wholesale and retail, the Ministry of Commerce (“MoC”) issued Notification No. 23/2019 (“Notification”) in relation to the registration of companies involved in importing and trading the following commodities: Chemical Fertilizers, Seeds, Insecticides, Medical Instruments, Construction Materials and Agricultural Machinery (“Commodities”).
In relation to wholesale and retail activities in Myanmar, the MoC previously issued Notification No. 25/2018 (“Wholesale/Retail Notification”) allowing retail and wholesale services within Myanmar by foreign companies and joint venture companies, News Letter 2/2018 on Standard Operating Procedures (“SOP”) and News Letter 3/2018 detailing the list of 24 types of prioritized goods.
Prior to the Notification, Myanmar companies, foreign companies and joint ventures could conduct import and trading activities involving the Commodities above simply by obtaining a certificate of exporter and importer registration without having to meet the Wholesale/Retail Notification requirements. Through this Notification, all companies which are involved with such Commodities would have to obtain a wholesale/retail registration certificate within 90 days from the issuing date of the Notification. All these companies would also have to comply with the requirements and stipulations prescribed under the Wholesale/Retail Notification and the SOP.
However, the MoC has given the companies dealing with these Commodities a certain degree of leeway by stating in the Notification that if the initial investment requirements and stipulated floor space requirements under the Wholesale/Retail Notification are not met, such requirements may be completed within five years from the date of registration.
The Notification further outlines that companies which fail to abide by the stipulations contained therein would be penalized in accordance with existing laws, rules, notification, orders, directives and by-laws issued by the MoC.
In summary, this Notification brings these Commodities within the spectrum of conventional wholesale and retail operations. The existing liberalization/exemptions that companies enjoyed have been lifted and interested parties and clients should pay close attention to this notification as the prescribed timeframe for registration to secure a wholesale and retail registration certificate from the MoC is quite brief.
Partner, Managing Director
Deputy Managing Director,
Head of Banking & Finance Practice
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.