Myanmar's textile and garment industry is set to benefit from the country's new export strategy - a five-year roadmap aimed at strengthening smaller companies and fuelling exports and trade diversification.

As the country's first-ever National Export Strategy (NES), the programme is designed to fuel Myanmar's sustainable development through export promotion. It was launched on 25 March and has been spearheaded by the Ministry of Commerce.

The NES seeks to shift Myanmar’s trade patterns and to translate gains from trade into greater prosperity for the people of Myanmar.

The country’s export structure has changed dramatically in recent decades. Exports have become concentrated on a handful of products, mostly unprocessed natural resources, and export destinations remain limited.

To extend trade to new products and markets, the NES will serve as a roadmap to increase production and value addition in priority sectors that includes textiles and garments. Others are beans, pulses and oilseeds; fisheries; forestry products; rice; rubber; and tourism.

Action points in the strategy include interventions to boost the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, to longer-term policy and legislative changes.

The NES also recommends targeted investments for each export sector, in addition to tackling constrains in the business environment such as access to finance, trade information and promotion, trade facilitation and logistics, as well as quality management.

It also seeks to enhance innovation capabilities by businesses and trade support institutions.

Irina Scheffmann, head of programme, Myanmar, GIZ, said: "The NES illustrates Myanmar’s huge export potential, which is still far from being fully tapped. A crucial factor is the development of a dynamic private sector with a particular focus on SMEs. At the same time, the NES rightly calls for an improved quality infrastructure and lower trade-related transaction costs."

Vice President U Nyan Tun, added that the priority sectors were selected as the most effective export sectors to deliver socio-economic development to the people of Myanmar.

"In that regard, I am convinced that the implementation of the NES will effectively support the main objectives of the nation, such as poverty alleviation, rural development and broad-based income growth, and will successfully lead Myanmar to sustainable growth and prosperity."