Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation. The lack of an educated workforce skilled in modern technology hinders Myanmar’s economy, although recent reforms and developments carried out by the new government, in collaboration with foreign countries and organisations aim to make this a thing of the past.
Myanmar lacks adequate infrastructure. Goods travel primarily across the Thai border (where most illegal drugs are exported) and along the Irrawaddy River. Railways are old and rudimentary, with few repairs since their construction in the late 19th century. Highways are normally unpaved, except in the major cities.
In 2010–2011, Bangladesh exported products worth $9.65 million to Myanmar against its import of $179 million. The annual import of medicine and medical equipment to Myanmar during the 2000s was 160 million USD.
In recent years, both China and India have attempted to strengthen ties with the government for economic benefit. Many nations, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union, have imposed investment and trade sanctions on Myanmar. The United States and European Union eased most of their sanctions in 2012. Foreign investment comes primarily from China, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, India, and Thailand.