Assessment of the Myanmar garment sector

  • Improving trade performance and international competitiveness requires both ease of doing business, with regulation a key factor, and also information for governments and firms to make strategic policy decisions.
  • In this project, researchers digitised the import licensing system for garment factories in Myanmar.
  • This new system was rolled out to 350 factories across Myanmar and had two significant impacts. It both enhanced the efficiency of processing applications, and automatically generates extensive data on the country’s garment sector that will be useful for the government in Myanmar to make strategic decisions for industry.
  • Through daily interaction and a pilot project, researchers made sure that relevant stakeholders would be able to easily use the system and develop its capabilities.

Myanmar’s business environment has been improving in recent years, but it still remains slow and inefficient for firms to acquire licenses for importing and exporting. With manufacturing poised to be a key sector for development in Myanmar, top priorities have been to improve the ease of doing business in-country, and also to know more about how competitive firms are internationally.

In this project, IGC researchers have been working together with the Ministry of Commerce and the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA). The researchers developed an online application process for all factories which are members of MGMA, a total of 350 factories across the country.

This system has an impact on two fronts. Firstly, the system creates an automated recommendation for an application to be approved or rejected – making the otherwise inefficient licensing procedure much more time efficient. Secondly, the system automatically generates and stores valuable data on the import and export activities of all garment factories. IGC researchers are now analysing this import and export data to identify production and trade behaviours of garment firms, shedding much needed light on how the government can improve the productivity and export potential of firms in Myanmar.

Throughout the development, testing, and implementation of the system, the IGC research team has been working daily with relevant government staff to build capacity in handling the system and analysing the data that comes out of it.


  • Research in progress.

    Project last updated on: 30 Nov 2018.