Location Advantages and Disadvantages in Myanmar: The Case of Garment Industry

Discussion Papers


by KUDO Toshihiro

May 2009


This research examines location advantages and disadvantages in Myanmar. The most notable location advantage of Myanmar is its abundant and low-wage labor. However, garment firms relocated here often suffer from difficulties such as electricity shortages, expensive and less available transport services, poor telephone, fax, and internet accesses, and cumbersome and time consuming administrative procedures. The wage gap between Myanmar and neighboring countries (including Thailand and China) does not attract garment firms to Myanmar but does lure Myanmar workers to its neighbors. In order to attract more garment firms to Myanmar, the government must enhance location advantages and alleviate disadvantages. While the country can do little to manipulate wages, it can reduce set-up, operation, and service link production costs through public policy and investment. A major priority for increasing the attractiveness of Myanmar is development of its infrastructure, especially the electricity supply. Further, institutional service link costs can be reduced by streamlining administrative procedures and establishing good governance. Such an improved business and investment climate will make it possible for the garment industry in Myanmar to compete in the global market.

Keywords: Myanmar (Burma), garment industry, location advantage, location, disadvantage, cost-benefit analysis, production network, competitiveness, set-up cost, operation cost, service link cost, infrastructure
JEL classification: F23, L67

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