The import of seeds, fertilisers, hospital equipment and building materials by foreign businesses will soon be permitted for the first time, Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary to the Commerce Ministry said.
Procedures to permit non-Myanmar firms to trade agricultural products and building materials have been ongoing, and negotiations with related ministries are currently underway to ease the restrictions, he added.
When those restrictions are lifted, the local market will become more competitive as foreign companies penetrate the market. Market competition will drive the improvement of quality of products.
At present, all imports by sea are examined as to whether or not they meet quality standards. However, as some products are smuggled through the borders, there have been some complaints regarding the lack of quality of products locally.
"We have started procedures to permit foreign companies to trade, with an aim to create fair competition among farmers," Khin Maung Lwin told the Myanmar Times.
"As a result, fairly priced and high-quality products will be readily available on the market," he added.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation is currently working on a better way to tackle low-quality fertilisers and pesticides in the market.
"If the Commerce Ministry allows foreign companies to import products in Myanmar, there will be more competition in terms of quality and prices.
"If we compete more in the market, the consumers will have more choices and will be able to purchase the products with more reasonable prices. We are now arranging the permission for foreign firms to import," he added.
The Commerce Ministry permits importation based on recommendations from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
"The list of requests for imports has already been submitted to the respective ministries, and if the permission goes through, we will announce it soon," he said.
In 2015, it was announced that joint ventures established by foreign and local firms were allowed to import fertilisers, insemination seeds, pesticides, hospital equipment and construction materials in 2016.
This policy change means all foreign companies will now be allowed to import fertilisers, insemination seeds, hospital equipment and construction materials for the first time in the country.