Scientific Papers


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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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Myanmar-China peculiar relationship: Trade, investment and the model of development

Vol. 11, No 2, 2018


Andrzej Bolesta


United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok




Myanmar-China peculiar relationship: Trade, investment and the model of development










Abstract. Myanmar and China have a long tradition of bilateral economic relations, the intensity of which has been changing according to political circumstances. In the late 1980s bilateral trade growth accelerated, and so did China’s investment volume in Myanmar. Although economic and political liberalisation of Myanmar has resulted in a slowing down of bilateral trade and investment dynamics due to the growing number of international economic partners, China remains one of the most important among them. Although the topic of trade and investment between Myanmar and China is relatively well covered in various studies, most of the analyses omit an additional peculiar relationship. Both countries are post-socialist economies. Today they are at different stages of economic transition and development, still, they have followed similar developmental trajectories. This is because post-socialist Myanmar has emulated China’s model of socioeconomic development. The China’s model is based on the concept of Post-Socialist Developmental State, a fusion of the historical developmental state concept and post-socialist systemic transformation. The imitation of this Chinese model is demonstrated by the content of Myanmar’s industrial policy, trade and investment policy and the arrangements concerning the financial system. Myanmar’s policy makers have targeted a vast array of industrial sectors for development, relied on the companies affiliated with the regime, opened up gradually and selectively for international trade, attracted foreign investments by establishing special zones and kept the financial sector closed.



Received: November, 2017

1st Revision: February, 2018

Accepted: April, 2018


DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2018/11-2/2


JEL ClassificationO10, O20, E60

KeywordsChina, Myanmar, Post-Socialist Development