Myanmar To Adopt International Gold Standard For The First Time With Plans To Relax Export Restrictions

 @SophieXSong
on February 14 2014 10:30 AM
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Buddhist devotees wait to offer gold to the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also known as the Golden Rock Pagoda, in the Mon State of Myanmar. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

In another step toward joining the international community, the previously isolated nation of Myanmar is adopting the international measurement standards to issue gold bars for the first time, further opening the Burmese gold market to the outside world.

This means Myanmar will start selling gold with 99.99 percent purity in the international unit of gram, instead of the Myanmar currency kyat, and international gold extracting and purifying standards will be adopted as well, the country announced on Wednesday.

"Only after people in Myanmar become familiar with and understand such a standard can the gold produced in Myanmar be sold in the international market,” said U Khin Maung Han of the Myanmar Federation of Mining Association, according to CCTV. “After a period of promotion, more than 60 million Myanmar people will be able to use the standard, and then we can adapt and enter the international market.”

There is currently restriction on how much gold foreigners can buy from Myanmar, as a 1994 law requires a 30:70 profit-sharing ratio between a foreign company mining in Myanmar and the government. That export restriction on gold and other minerals is unlikely to go away overnight, but the Southeast Asian nation does plan to loosen the ban in the next two years.

"Many international investors have entered the country, and they want to buy gold,” said Y Kyaw Win, the secretary of the Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association, highlighting the importance of undoing the ban to the country’s international trade position. “Whether we can sell or whether they can bring the gold outside of the country will be a big problem. When Myanmar joins the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Free Trade Area, the government should solve the problem.”

As of 2012, Myanmar allows only companies from China, Thailand and South Korea to explore its rich mineral reserves, a Reuters database shows. In addition, mining companies from Australia and Russia are involved, but only through third-party intermediaries, CCTV reported. 

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