Although major US companies have shown interest in importing garments from Burma/Myanmar, systems and infrastructure need to be improved and restructured before significant US-Burma clothing and textile commerce can begin in earnest.

Dr U Aung Win, vice-chairperson of Myanmar Garments Manufacturers Association, told just-style: "US firms have shown quite an interest in Myanmar's garment sector. Famous brands such as Gap, Adidas and Nike have inquired about the state of our garment sector.

"However no concrete steps have been taken yet because the sector still faces many challenges here."

He added: "Western companies wanting to invest have researched the infrastructure, worker salaries, tax system and power supply. To be honest, we don't have any factories that are good enough for US companies." 

For this reason, he was unable to provide a forecast of sales volume. He said that the government will need to invest considerable sums before US companies are willing to place major orders or investments.

"US companies want FOB (free on board), but we are still working with cut, make, pack (CMP). Our system lags far behind other countries because a third party is required as a go-between for exports to the US.

"And I'm not confident that the government will overhaul the CMP system, because it will require a massive effort," U Aung Win said.

Factories in countries with more developed textile sectors such as South Korea and Taiwan buy material from Burma and then export it to the US, he said.