Myanmar’s accession to the New York Convention in July 2013 is another step in the government’s strategy of opening Myanmar to foreign investment.
On July 15, 2013, the New York Convention entered into force in Myanmar after Myanmar had deposited its instrument of accession on April 16. However, domestic legislation is required in order to implement Myanmar’s obligations.
Myanmar has become the 149th member state of the New York Convention, under which signatory states are obliged to give effect to agreements to arbitrate and to recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. Recognition and enforcement may only be refused on the basis of specific and limited grounds, and thus only in exceptional cases. The New York Convention is the most important treaty relating to international arbitration and one of the world’s most successful and significant tools for fostering cross-border transactions and creating a favourable investment climate. Myanmar’s accession is therefore a clear signal of its will to render its investment climate more attractive for foreign investment.
Recognition and enforcement is a key element of a functioning judicial system and at the very basis of a functioning economy and an investment-friendly climate.
The accession to the New York Convention is part of a broader governmental programme of political, economic and legal reform launched in 2011 with the aim of opening Myanmar to foreign investment. The state’s foreign investment legal framework includes the Foreign Investment Rules, a notification of the Myanmar Investment Commission on the restricted economic activities (2012) and a new Foreign Investment Law of 2012. Moreover, Myanmar is party to a range of multilateral and bilateral investment treaties, including the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement, ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. In addition, Myanmar is negotiating its membership of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which will grant foreign investors an option to obtain a risk guarantee from MIGA.