Setting up a representative or branch office in Myanmar

Seafood buyers in Myanmar generally purchase directly from factories or employ buying agents. Normally buyers who purchase directly, informally hire a local representative who communicates with the factories and is responsible for quality control. A couple of well-known agents, such as Siam Canadian, is active in Myanmar. In case a foreign company would like to have more control on its seafood transactions, there are two alternatives to be considered:

Representative office

The staff of a representative office need to have the Burmese nationality and need to be registered at the Ministry of Commerce (Ministry of Trade Order No.2/89 dated 13 October 1989). After an appointment with a business representative, the foreign company may register and set up its own representative office. However permitted activities under an representative office are limited.

Branch office

In order to have more control on local transactions, it is possible to set up a branch office. In Myanmar branch offices can be set up as manufacturing or service companies. In case of seafood trading you should set up a service company. In a branch office 100% foreign ownership is allowed. Currently the minimum foreign capital to be brought in the local entity has been stipulated at US$ 50,000 of which 50% needs to be invested at the moment of incorporation, and 25% in the first year of establishment. Representative and branch offices do not need approval of the Myanmar Investment Committee (MIC) and can be registered with DICA under the Myanmar Companies Act. The application process takes about two months.  However it is possible to get a temporary incorporation certificate within a few weeks of application. Once DICA has approved the incorporation you will receive a  ‘Permit to Trade’.