Guide to Exporting Goods from Myanmar

Goods are exported from Myanmar when they leave Myanmar’s customs territory. Different rules apply to exports depending on whether they are commercial or non-commercial in nature. The logistics, laws and regulations governing exports are complex and most exporters use professional experts, known as freight forwarders and customs brokers, to assist them in planning and carrying out export transactions. 

Exports from Myanmar are controlled by the Customs Department of the Ministry of Planning and Finance (“Customs”). Customs is responsible for assessing and collecting applicable taxes on exports and carrying out other regulatory and law enforcement responsibilities relating to exports.

Index

Registration of a Business

Prohibited Exports

Export Licenses

Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Requirements 

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Requirements

Customs Declaration and Required Accompanying Documents

Export Taxes

Payment of Customs Duties and Taxes

Customs Inspection of Exports

Special Econonomic Zones (SEZs)

Spotlight on the Garment Industry


Registration of a Business

In order to export goods from Myanmar, a business must first register as a company authorized to engage in international trade. For details about registering a business, click here.

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  1. An export must register as a company authorized to engage in international trade and then register as an exporter with the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), Ministry of Planning and Finance. Registrations can be up to five years. DICA has a One Stop Service (OSS) to facilitate registration.
  2. An exporter must also register with the Department of Trade, Ministry of Commerce. Registrations can be for up to three years, but the time must not exceed the company’s DICA registration to engage in international trade. The fee for registration is K50,000 per year. 
  3. The exporter must also join the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI)Top.


Prohibited Exports

Myanmar prohibits the exportation of certain goods. For details about prohibited goods, click here.

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WTO’s GATT, Article XX and XXI, permit WTO members to prohibit the exportation of certain articles that endanger public morals, threaten human, plant or animal life, involve the importation of gold and silver, arms and ammunition, and similar items. The Department of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce has exercised its rights under these GATT provisions to prohibit the following exportations:

  1. Counterfeit currency and coins
  2. Pornographic material
  3. All kinds of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances
  4. Antique objects
  5. Arms and ammunition
  6. Fisheries products prohibited
  7. Shrimp shell meal
  8. Animal and animal produce products prohibited
  9. Elephant tusks
  10. Buffalo, cattle, elephants, horses, wild animals
  11. Minerals and mineral products prohibited
  12. Gold
  13. Diamonds
  14. Petroleum
  15. Forestry products prohibited
  16. Logs (not processed wood)
  17. Agricultural products prohibited
  18. Sesame oil
  19. Mustard and mustard oils
  20. Sunflowers and sun flower oil
  21. Residues from producing vegetable oil

If in doubt, you should seek advice from the Directorate of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce. Top.


Export Licenses

Although almost all goods require an export license to export, the main agricultural export products and cut-make-packaging (CMP) products do not require export licenses.  For details about export licenses, click here.

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The Government of Myanmar is currently liberalizing requirements for obtaining an export license as a precondition to exporting goods. However, most tariff items (all but 983 tariff lines) still require an export license.

The Department of Trade of the Ministry of Commerce, issues export licenses. No license fee is charged for exports. Export licenses are issued based upon the recommendations by relevant ministries, agencies and business associations:

  1. Agricultural seeds - Department of Agriculture
  2. Teak scantlings and forest products - Forest Department
  3. Shrimp bran (prawn shell dust), fish bran - Department of Livestock Breeding and Veterinary
  4. Metal - Department Mine
  5. Movies, video tapes - Myanmar Motion Picture Enterprise
  6. Animals, animal products and animals feed - Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department
  7. Materials related to food and drugs - Food and Drug Administration
  8. Seeds and vegetable roots - Department of Agriculture
  9. Pearl products made of pearl and mother of pearl - Myanmar Pearl Enterprise

The Ministry of Commerce requires that all export transactions use the FOB Incoterm. Other Incoterms are not currently authorized.

The Ministry of Commerce reviews the price levels of export transactions and may deny an export license if the price level of a particular export transaction is deemed contrary to the national economic interest.

Applications for export licenses have been automated. See the tradenet website. However, manual applications are also accepted. Applications are accepted at the Department’s Headquarters at Nay Pyi Taw, in Yangon, Mandalay and some border offices. Department of Trade currently operates a Border Trade Online System (BTOS) for processing export licenses at border posts.

License requirements are reviewed on an annual basis and there may also be occasional additional changes during each year.

Required certificates, permits or export recommendations, etc.

  1. Depending upon the nature of the export, certificates, permits or export recommendations may be required from regulatory authorities or association members of the UMFCCI, consistent with the importing country’s requirements.
  2. A country of origin (COO) certificate may be required from the Ministry of Commerce in order for exports to qualify for ASEAN or other preferential duty treatment.  In addition to ASEAN members, free trade agreements exist with Korea, Japan, Indian, China, and Australia-New Zealand. Exports may also be eligible for Generalized System of Preference (GSP) duty free treatment. The application process for a COO certificate is paper-based. There are 10 certificates for ASEAN free trade and various GSP programs. For copies of the certificates and an illustration of the application process, click here.
  3. Non-preferential COOs are also issued by the relevant ministries, UMFCCI and its constituent members.

Validity of export license and amendments

License validity is three months after issuance. After three months, the exporter can apply for an extension of the license for two months. On further application, a second extension for one month is also provided for. After six months the applicant must apply for a new license. There is no license fee for extensions.

Amendments to export licenses are also available before shipment.

Automation of import-export processes by Myanmar Customs

Myanmar Customs is currently developing an automated cargo clearance system (MACCS) designed to automate a number of areas of customs operations. These include user registration, clearance of goods, cargo management, payment, information technology, and the helpdesk. MACCS will connect with shipping and airlines, the Port Authority, warehouse operators, brokers and importer/exporters and also with other government agencies. It will initially be installed in Yangon and later in other customs offices throughout Myanmar. Eventually MACCS will provide the basis for a National Single Window (NSW) where submission for licenses to other government agencies and approvals or rejections may be made using MACCS.  It is planned for MACCS to be operational by late 2016. MACCS should significantly reduce the time for customs processing of imports and exports and also improve the collection of revenue and enforcement of import restrictions. Top.


Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Requirements 

If the goods you intend to export are subject to sanitary and phytosanitary measures you will have to comply with the special regulations relating to those products. For details about SPS requirements, click here.

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You can find out on this website which commodities are subject to these requirements by using the search facilities on the Commodity Search page.

Department of Agriculture, Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, Department of Fishery and Food and Drug Administration Department are responsible for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures in Myanmar. SPS standards adopted by Myanmar follow those of CODEX, ASEAN, and the OIE. A detailed description of the procedures and documentation required can be found on the Procedures page of this website. Top.


Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Requirements

For certain types of products, it may be necessary to obtain a permit that certifies that these products conform to certain technical standards. For details about TBT requirements, click here.

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These technical regulations are administered by the Department Of Research and Innovation (DRI). Note that export countries have specific technical requirements specific to exported products and that exporters should check with relevant compentent authorities in export destinations about those requirements before exporting. Myanmar has established a TBT Enquiry Point as required by the WTO TBT Agreement.  You can contact the TBT Enquiry Point if you have any questions regarding technical standards. Top.


Customs Declaration and Required Accompanying Documents

In order to clear Customs exports must be accompanied by a customs declaration and required accompanying documents. For details about customs declarations, click here.

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  1. All exports must be cleared through Customs using the CUSDEC-2 Export Declaration Form along with the CUSDEC-4 Customs Valuation Form.

  2. Required accompanying documents include:

    1. An export license / permit

    2. The invoice

    3. Packing list

    4. Sales contract

    5. Payment advice referring Inward Telegraphic Transfer Private No./Inward Telegraphic Transfer Government No.

    6. Sample of goods

    7. Pass for the shipment of forestry products

    8. Health certificate for the export of live animals

    9. Permit for the export of wild live animals

    10. Other certificates, permits or import recommendations, as required (for example, a country of origin or SPS or FDA certificate)

  3. Generally the customs declaration and supporting documents must be submitted to Customs prior to the export of the goods. Top.


Export Taxes

Once a declaration has been submitted and accepted by Customs, Customs will require the payment of duties on specific export products: For details about about payment of export taxes, click here.

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  1. Commercial taxes are currently assessed on exports of some commodities. These include raw gems (15%), finished gems(5%), electricity (8%), gas (8%); crude oil (5%);, teak and conversions (50%); and timber and conversions (50%).
  2. A specific goods tax (SGT) on manufactured goods was recently approved and will be effective 1 April 2016. Commercial taxes may be phased out and replace by the SGT.
  3. Tax exemptions on exports are granted to domestic and foreign investors. Manufacturing businesses receive 50% income tax exemption on profits accrued from exports, and commercial tax exemption if the goods are exported with a few exceptions.
  4. Customs collects a 2% advance income tax on exports for the Internal Revenue Department. Top.


Customs Inspection of Exports

Export inspections are conducted by Customs. These are designed to avoid disputes between exporters and importers concerning the quality and quantity of the goods and to limit exports of prohibited products. For details inspection of exports, click here.

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Private inspection companies also may conduct pre-shipment inspections (PSIs) of certain commodities, such as rice.Top.


Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

Special economic zones, sometimes called free zones or export processing zones, are areas that are geographically within a nation but are outside a nation’s customs territory for the purpose of the collection of customs duties and other indirect taxes (such as excise and sales taxes). For details about SEZs,  click here.

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Businesses located in SEZs frequently conduct export processing operations, taking advantage of duty and indirect tax exemptions. SEZs have been used by China, Vietnam and other countries to encourage FDI and to experiment with new economic policies.

Myanmar’s SEZ legislation was revised in 2014. Under this law, investors who carry out business in a SEZ are eligible for a variety of tax exemptions and reductions. For details, click here to review the SEZ law.

The Government currently plans to establish 3 SEZs: Dawei, Kyaukphyu, and Thilawa. Infrastructure is being developed for Dawei. Dawei is not operational. Kyaukphyu is also at an early stage of development. Factories have located in Thilawa but only one has started operations. Top.


Spotlight on the Garment Industry

Currently almost all garment production in Myanmar is done under the Cut, Make and Package(CMP) process. For details about garments and the CMT process, click here.

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A foreign agent provides the fabric and other materials to produce garments according to contract specifications. An import license to import the fabric and other materials is obtained from the Ministry of Commerce, based upon recommendation letters from the Ministry of Industry and the UMFCCI. No export license for the finished garments is required. Imported materials and exported finished garments are duty and tax free. The Ministry of Industry monitors the production of factories through daily statistical reports and also issues non-preferential certificates of origin.  This has helped the garment industry to develop into a leading sector of the economy in Myanmar, with more than 300 factories employing more than 250,000 workers. About half the factories are foreign-owned. All garment production is exported to customers located in many countries around the world. Export sales exceed USD$1.6 billion. Special, simplified procedures have been developed to expedite the production and export of clothing articles. Top.