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Myanmar allows business companies to open foreign exchange counters

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YANGON, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Central Bank of Myanmar has allowed three private business companies to open foreign exchange counters in the country in addition to those run by private banks, official media reported Thursday.

There has been 18 private banks granted to open 212 money exchange counters since 2011.

These private banks were authorized to admit opening of foreign currency accounts with the public in U.S. dollar, Euro and Singapore dollar as well as FEC (foreign exchange certificate) starting July last year.

The service facilitates exporters, importers, companies, organizations hotels, travels and tours companies, airlines and individuals in dealing with their balance of foreign currencies purchasing and selling by account transfer.

Exporters are allowed to open such foreign currency accounts with their Letter of Credit (LC) accounts.

However, the opening of foreign currency accounts at these private banks are limited to government departments, state-owned economic enterprises (SEE), joint ventures with the SEE, foreign embassies and diplomats which are to do so only with the state-run Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB).

Previously, the only two state banks were allowed to undertake such foreign currency dealing services.

These banks have set up exchange counters at banks, airports, hotels, shopping centers and major tourists destinations for the convenience of tourists visiting Myanmar and Myanmar citizens leaving the country.

Started on Feb. 1, 2012 Myanmar government has eased foreign currency exchange control allowing exchange of up to 10,000 U.S. dollars with Myanmar kyats without any documentation.

The fresh regulations, aimed at getting rid of black market exchange, apply to both Myanmar citizens and foreigners.

Moreover, four Myanmar private banks including Cooperatives Bank, Kanbawza Bank, Asia Green Development Bank and Ayeyawaddy Bank have also been allowed to handle remittance to homeland from Myanmar migrant workers working in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia starting February.

There is a total of 19 private banks and three state-owned banks in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, US-based Western Union started to launch money transfer services to Myanmar with seven local private banks in January this year.

In the latest development, the United States authorized financial services with four Myanmar banks in February this year.

The four Myanmar banks, to which the U.S. Treasury Department issued a general license allowing access to American financial system, are State Economic Bank, Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank, private-owned Asian Green Development Bank and Ayayawaddy Bank.

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