Written evidence from British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar (MYA0028)

The Author | Peter Crowhurst

The British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar (The Chamber)

How can the Government improve its response to the crisis in Myanmar? How can it coordinate more effectively with international allies to influence a peaceful resolution to the crisis?

HMG needs to understand that the Burmese Military (Tatmadaw) is one of the world’s most opaque organisations and is some 80 years old as well as being the 11th largest army in global terms with manpower of approximately 450,000. To gain better perspective HMG needs try and understand it. They are engaged in business and operate, directly or indirectly some 250 companies. Why do they do that? The Myanmar Government hardly levied any taxation, inconsistent application of salary tax, commercial contracts had no tax clauses (that also gives a context for untouched historical contracts, such as those held by Total, Chevron, Posco, PTT. Thus, to sustain a substantial army funds need to be raised in any way possible, with the obvious drug dealing & resource extractives and timber providing the largest source of revenues.  So far, such export revenue generation continues unabated – some anecdotal evidence even indicates significant increase.

 

 

The UK has been proactive since February 1st, 2021. However, words, sanctions and statements provide little solace. 

Recommendation

 

What was the impact of the February sanctions on regime officials? What further action is needed?

 

What steps should the UK be taking to support justice and redress for civilians affected by the violence?

 

What opportunities does the UK’s new status as an ASEAN Dialogue Partner bring for mediation?

Is the Government making full use of the UK’s position as the UN Security Council Penholder on Myanmar? What further action should it be taking through the Security Council?

Is the FCDO’s in-country resourcing sufficient? Are diplomats and other officials working in Myanmar given adequate training and support?

In Summary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2021