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U.S. Allows Coke to Sell Drinks

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Myanmar will finally get to drink the famous Coca-Cola drink thanks to a decision by the U.S. government to allow investments in the Southeast Asian country. Once the government issues a license, Coca-Cola will begin importing its prod- ucts from neighboring countries. The soft drink maker also plans to establish local operations in Myanmar but it may take some time as they are in discussion with potential partners in the country. Actual operations in the country may begin over the next three to five years as Coke officials will be careful with whom they partner and may even decide to go alone in case they don’t find a right fit. Siem Reap from Cambodia told Reuters that Pinya Manufacturing Co, Myanmar Golden Star (MGS) and Loi Hein Company are being considered for partnership in Myanmar.

Coca-Cola began operation in Burma in 1927 but stopped its operations in 1960 af- ter the military seized control of the coun- try. Even PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), Coke’s com- petitor stopped its operations in Myanmar in 1997 to protest human-rights violations under the military dictatorship.

Coca-cola is currently present in more than 200 countries across the globe but the nation doesn’t do business in Cuba and North Korea. The company has never en- tered North Korea but Cuba was one of the first countries it served. Despite its success there, Coke had no choice but to make a quick exit after the Cuban Revolution, and the political climate has since prevented its return.

However, its return to Myanmar will not be the first time Coca-Cola has re-entered a market. For instance, it re-entered India in 1993 and China in 1979. Both proved very successful and thus Coke has high hopes it will enjoy the same success in Myanmar. “The Coca-Cola Company has always stood for optimism at times of change and progress around the world,” said Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. “From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the establish- ment of normal U.S. relations with Viet- nam to the positive changes we are seeing today in Myanmar, Coca-Cola has proudly been there to refresh, invest, partner and bring hope for a better tomorrow.” Although still in infancy, Myanmar’s democracy has attracted investors such as Coke to start business in the nation and gives hope to millions in the nation who want to live in a strong economy. The com- pany has also announced a grant of US$3 million to support women’s economic empowerment job creation initiatives throughout Myanmar.

Dedicated to helping local communi- ties in the regions it operates, Coca-Cola is supporting the development of a WORTH program in Myanmar. The company has partnered with a non-governmental orga- nization called Pact to this end. Through this alliance Coke will develop community banks that lend money to fund business start-ups and entrepreneurial efforts. “Coca-Cola’s planned social and eco- nomic investments represent exactly the kind of responsible actions we need our American companies to take to be good corporate citizens and create much-need- ed opportunity and positive change for the benefit of all the people of Burma,” said Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at- Large for Global Women’s Issues. “We applaud Coca-Cola for its efforts to bring economic opportunity to the women of Burma and for putting the needs of women at the forefront of its future plans to do business in this market,” added Verveer


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