UK trade envoy visits Myanmar for trade and culture talks
Lord David Puttnam, the United Kingdom’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, arrived in Myanmar this week to identify business opportunities for UK companies and join high-level discussions on public policy and culture.
“Myanmar is a country with many well-preserved traditions and fascinating cultures, while simultaneously undergoing exciting economic and political changes,” the former film producer said, adding that he was “thrilled” to link businesses in the UK with counterparts here “across a range of sectors”.
The envoy underscored the importance of culture at the “Putting culture at the heart of public policy” seminar at the office of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Office on Thursday.
“Culture is a powerful force in uniting nations and peoples,” he said, adding that it was “a fundamental component” of the UK trade policy. Confidence is also very important, he added.
The word “culture” should not be used to defend narrow opinions and promote propaganda, Puttnam added.
During the two-day visit to Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, he met Minister of Culture Aye Myint Kyu to discuss ways the UK can support the preservation and development of culture in Myanmar. He also met with Minister of Electric Power Khin Maung Soe on Friday to identify business opportunities for UK companies and discuss how to support responsible investment.
Puttnam also visited the Myanmar Motion Picture Organisation and Myanmar Motion Picture Museum, and British executives in Yangon, including the board and members of the recently established British Chamber of Commerce. Tomorrow, he will visit the Yangon Film School where he will observe a sound design class and then participate in a question and answer session with students.
When asked about the purpose of his visit, Puttnam said, “I am here to listen, not to advise. This is just the listening trip, not the advising trip.”
The envoy visited Myanmar last year. As a film producer, Puttnam is best known for a string of highly acclaimed movies in the 1970s and 80s, which include “Midnight Express”, “Chariots of Fire”, “The Killing Fields” and “The Mission”. His films have won 10 Oscars, 25 British film industry awards and the Palme D’Or at Cannes. He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on education, the environment, and the creative and communications industries.
Puttnam was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees.
British Ambassador to Myanmar Andrew Patrick said Puttnam’s visit would help boost trade ties and uncover opportunities for investment.
By Khine Kyaw - Myanmar Eleven
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