Myanmar also has a blossoming oil and natural gas industry, with the latter considered to have extremely high potential.
Agriculture, Fisheries, and Livestock
Myanmar's coa stline is one of the longest and cleanest in South-East Asia. The abundance of marine life has remained relatively untapped, although recent private sector activity has surged as a result of the dissolving of a government run monopoly in this sector in 1994. Livestock is another potentially lucrative, but yet untapped, market.
With some of the most abundant and under-utilized resources, Myanmar's forests remain an import prospect for economic subsistence. The country contains about 80 percent of the world’s teak reserves and currently supplies about 90 percent of the world market. However, forestry only accounts for one percent of total GDP. Since 1994, the harvesting of and export of teak wood has remained a government monopoly, but opportunities exist for value added exports of forest products.
As in other countries, hotel and tourism sector is considered to be a lucrative earner of foreign exchange. The 199,359 visitors in the year up to March 2000 generated approximately US$34 million in foreign exchange, while foreign investment in the hotel industry, through licensed foreign investment hotels, joint-venture hotels and local private-owned hotels up to April 2000 was US$605 million. It should be noted that the arrival figures are more than doubled -to 477,962 ¬when one includes border visitors, including day visitors.
After a large boom in the construction of hotels during the early to mid-1990s, the recent economic difficulties have left most of these hotels either half-built or severely under capacity. Further, the dismal power situation leaves many of these hotels, as well as other service industries, relying on diesel power generators that increase the cost of business by ten to 20 percent. Yet Myanmar's tourism sector is almost certain to grow as more people discover its "undiscovered" treasures and look for new and exotic vacation destinations.
Myanmar has a relatively new insurance industry with most of the legislation and regulations coming into effect since 1993. The Myanmar Insurance Law was enacted in 1993, followed by the Insurance Business Law in 1996, and the Insurance Business Rules of 1997. As Myanmar continues to reform its economy and interact with the outside world, the insurance industry will likely be an important sector in the near future.