recent passage of legislation to open Myanmar to
, McDonald's (
restaurants could soon be dispensing Coca-Cola (
) throughout the country. Although the new law will not be
enacted until it's signed by President Thein Sein, this is a
massive step in the right direction for a country that was
ostensibly socialist under its military junta.
[caption id="attachment_73351" align="alignright" width="300"
caption="United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets
with Burma's President Thein Sein."]
The legislation would let foreigners own half or more of some
joint ventures and invest in a wide range of businesses. President
Thein Sein, who took office last year, is a reformer who has pushed
to open Myanmar to investments by foreign companies.
Those investments will no doubt be forthcoming. Once
multinationals like Coca-Cola and McDonald's establish a presence
in a country, further development by other foreign investors is
Über-investor Jim Rogers recently declared Myanmar to be the
best investment opportunity in the world. The country brings a
populace of about 60 million new consumers to the global
marketplace and offers a treasure trove of natural resources that
range from fossil fuels to lumber and tourism.
Companies like McDonald's and Coca-Cola are
excellent vehicles for profiting from emerging market
. With its entry into Myanmar Coca-Cola now has operations in
every nation in the world except for North Korea and Cuba. In a
hint of things to come, Jim Rogers says North Korea is also one of
the best investment opportunities in the world. Many hope that the
U.S. embargo on Cuba will end -- to the satisfaction of all parties
after this year's presidential election.
McDonald's has facilities in about 120 countries around the
world, from Costa Rica to Oman to Malaysia. The worlds largest
fast-food chain is expanding operations in Siberia - by comparison,
Myanmar would probably be an easier place to build a franchise. In
a world starved for positive economic news, the opening of Myanmar
to foreign investment under a pro-business president is
very bullish indeed.