As reported in an earlier post, on 16 April 2013 Myanmar deposited an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, consenting to be bound by the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”). This is to report that the New York Convention will come into force in Myanmar on Monday 15 July 2013.

We understand that Myanmar’s accession to the Convention was effected without making any of the available reservations, such as the so-called “reciprocity” reservation, or the commercial disputes reservation. It therefore appears that the Convention will apply in its entirety in Myanmar. As a consequence, arbitral awards made in Myanmar should be enforceable in the 140+ countries that are already party to the New York Convention, and awards made in all signatory countries should, theoretically, be enforceable in Myanmar.

While the above news is positive for foreign investors, in order for the New York Convention to be effective in Myanmar it must be implemented by amending existing domestic legislation or enacting new domestic legislation to provide a framework for the enforcement of foreign awards. While there is no official news available as to when such a law might come into force, unofficial indicators are that Myanmar legislators aim to introduce the law by the end of 2013. 

Note: Herbert Smith Freehills has recently published a Myanmar Investment Guide. Please email if you are interested in obtaining a copy. In addition, we have close relationships with highly-regarded legal firms in Yangon and currently have a senior corporate associate from our Singapore office based in Yangon, working with a local law firm. With the ability to work so closely alongside lawyers in the local market, Herbert Smith Freehills is able to provide a seamless service to clients on Myanmar matters. If you would like any further information on Myanmar, please contact Alastair Henderson, Partner, Kritika Venugopal, Associate, or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Alastair Henderson
Alastair Henderson
+65 6 868 8000
Kritika Venugopal
Kritika Venugopal
+65 6 868 8017


Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.