Myanmar has already done a lot to reconnect with the international community and win investment, but the return to democracy is not complete and more political and economic reforms are needed, its trade minister said on Saturday.
The southeast Asian nation has opened up to the outside world with astonishing speed since a civilian government took office last March after five decades of army rule, releasing political prisoners and launching democratic reforms.
The prospect of the end of Western sanctions imposed for human rights abuses has prompted a surge of interest from investors who view the former Burma as one of Asia's last frontier markets.
But asked whether he thought Myanmar has done enough to get U.S. sanctions lifted, U Soe Thane told Reuters Television:
A lot of things we have done, but many more we have to do in the near future. The democratic process is not finished yet.
We have a lot of things to reform and lots of things have to change: laws, regulations and institutions, not only in the political sector but also in the economic sectors. But sanctions are up to them.
On Monday, the European Union started relaxing its sanctions by suspending travel bans on top Myanmar officials, which allowed U Soe Thane to lead Myanmar's first official delegation to the World Economic Forum after decades of isolation.
But Washington has yet to take any steps and says much will depend on smooth April by-elections.
U Soe Thane said he was encouraged by dozens of meetings with leaders and executives at the annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos.
I met a lot of people here, other ministers and CEOs, more than 20, and we discussed co-development, he said.
Our location, our market and resource potential are very important for them so they are willing to invest in our country.
A law due to be passed by parliament by the end of February will offer eight years of tax incentives to bring capital to such sectors as farming, tourism and energy, the minister later told a panel devoted to Myanmar's future.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in video address to the forum earlier this week that the minister's presence was a sign of positive changes in the country.
She said that the nation has not yet reached its great transformation, but the elections in April could bring that point closer and preparations for the polls kept her from attending the summit. Suu Kyi was released in 2010 after spending 15 out of the past 20 years under house arrest.
U Soe Thane said Suu Kyi would become a senator if she won in her constituency and then it would be up to the country's president to decide whether to ask the former political prisoner to join the government.
Years of economic mismanagement by the military coupled with U.S. and European sanctions have left the economy in tatters with infrastructure that is rudimentary at best and about a third of its 60 million people living on a dollar a day.
But its rich gas deposits and other natural resources, large and young workforce, and a potential as a tourism destination barely touched by development are making it an attractive target for companies seeking to grow while mature economies struggle.
Japan's trade minister led a group of executives at the start of the year and a similar delegation of U.S. businesses is expected to visit the country next month.
Myanmar's energy minister earlier this week told Reuters energy companies from Norway, Brazil, Russia and Japan were all interested in investments in the sector.
In Davos, Starwood Hotels & Resorts - which runs chains such as Westin, Sheraton and Le Meridien - and Marriott International both expressed interest in running hotels in Myanmar.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Jucca,; Editing by Peter Graff)