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Myanmar's apparel industry in the new international environment : prospects and challenges


  • Kudo, Toshihiro


Myanmar’s apparel industry had long been denied access to Western markets due to sanctions against its military government. The birth of a "civilian" government in March 2011 improved Myanmar’s relations with the international community, and Western sanctions were largely lifted. Regained market access is expected to trigger rapid growth of Myanmar’s apparel exports. This paper examines this impact with a comparison to Vietnam’s apparel industry.The industry’s prospects are getting bright, but the business environment has recently changed drastically in Myanmar. A new challenge for Myanmar’s apparel industry is remaining globally competitive. This paper also examines advantages and disadvantages that apparel firms in Myanmar experience. Although its abundance of low-wage workers remains a source of competitiveness, Myanmar needs its government to play a more active role to build the foundation of the industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Kudo, Toshihiro, 2013. "Myanmar's apparel industry in the new international environment : prospects and challenges," IDE Discussion Papers 430, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper430

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kudo, Toshihiro, 2005. "The Impact of United States Sanctions on the Myanmar Garment Industry," IDE Discussion Papers 42, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    2. Koji Kubo, 2013. "Real exchange rate appreciation, resource boom, and policy reform in Myanmar," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(1), pages 110-126, May.
    3. Fukunishi, Takahiro & Yamagata, Tatsufumi, 2013. "Slow and steady wins the race : how the garment industry leads industrialization in low-income countries," IDE Discussion Papers 412, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
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    More about this item


    Myanmar; Apparel industry; Myanmar (Burma); Apparel; International market; Export; Sanctions; Economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J39 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Other
    • L67 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Other Consumer Nondurables: Clothing, Textiles, Shoes, and Leather Goods; Household Goods; Sports Equipment

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