David Puttnam, The United Kingdom’s Trade Envoy to Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos visited Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon, and its capital of Naypyidaw last week where he participated in discussions about public policy and sought opportunities for businesses in the UK.
“Myanmar is a country with many well-preserved traditions and fascinating cultures, while simultaneously undergoing exciting economic and political changes,” said Puttnam, saying that he was “thrilled” to help find partnerships for UK companies in Myanmar “across a range of sectors”.
During the two-day trip, Puttnam met Minister of Culture Aye Myint Kyu to find ways that the United Kingdom can assist with preserving and further developing Myanmar’s culture. He also met with Khin Maung Soe, Myanmar’s Minister of Electric Power, in order to discuss opportunities for companies in the UK to do business in and invest in Myanmar.
Puttnam spoke about the importance of culture at a seminar titled “Putting Culture at the Heart of Public Policy” at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Office. “Culture is a powerful force in uniting nations and peoples” he stated, adding that it was “a fundamental component” of the UK trade policy.
The trade envoy, who had a 30-year career as an Oscar winning film producer and made movies such as “The Killing Fields” and “Chariots of Fire”, also visited the Myanmar Motion Picture Organization, Myanmar Motion Picture Museum, and the Yangon Film School where he met members of Myanmar’s film industry, watched a sound design class and took part in a question and answer session with students.
Puttnam also met with members of Yangon’s British business community, including foreign expats working in Myanmar and members of the British Chamber of Commerce.
When he was asked about the reasons for his visit to Myanmar, Puttnam answered, “I am here to listen, not to advise. This is just the listening trip, not the advising trip”.