Coca-Cola has put its stamp of approval on Myanmar’s reforms with the first official delivery of the popular soft drink in the country in more than 60 years, the company announced Monday.
The soft drinks giant also said it was moving to establish a bottling operation in the country as it emerges from decades of stifled economic development under military dictatorship.
“We are privileged to once again have the opportunity to play a role in building a better future with the people of Myanmar,” said Coke chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent, who oversaw the delivery during a weekend visit to Yangon, the country’s business hub.
The delivery came two months after Washington lifted sanctions preventing US companies from doing business in the country, in response to the country’s democratic and economic reforms.
Coca-Cola products have long been available in Myanmar, imported from neighboring countries but without the company’s official involvement.
The company said it was working with local soft drinks maker Pinya Manufacturing to develop a local Coke bottling and distribution operation “as soon as possible”.
“Coca-Cola has a general practice of operating as a local business in every market it serves, including selling, distributing, manufacturing and hiring locally,” the company said.
Kent was in the country with the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Eminent Persons Group, which aims at boosting US ties with the ASEAN region.