The Myanmar-Japan Bilateral Investment Treaty

By Jonathan Bonnitcha on September 12, 2014

After decades of international isolation, Myanmar is going through a process of political transition toward democracy.

As part of the reform process, the Government of Myanmar is attempting to attract more foreign investment to the country and has already taken several steps toward achieving this objective. One policy choice facing the government of Myanmar is the decision of whether to enter into investment treaties with foreign governments and, if so, on what terms.

This note examines the legal and policy implications of the Myanmar–Japan Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), signed on December 15, 2013. Although Myanmar is already a party to a handful of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, the Myanmar–Japan BIT is particularly significant for two reasons. The first is that it is the first investment treaty to be negotiated and signed by the transitional government that took power in 2011. As such, it provides insights into how the current government might approach other investment treaty negotiations over the coming years. The second reason is that the Myanmar–Japan BIT differs significantly from recent ASEAN investment treaty practice to which Myanmar is a party.

Report details

Investment Law & Policy
Myanmar (Burma)
Focus area
IISD, 2014