"Now is the time" for American companies to invest in Myanmar, according to the Southeast Asian nation's foreign minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, speaking Wednesday at the "Responsible Investment in Myanmar's Future" program at Asia Society in New York.
The foreign minister pointed out that the United States ranks 13th out of 32 countries in terms of foreign direct investment into Myanmar.
"I wish to take this opportunity to invite more U.S. business firms and investors to get up and join the gold rush to Myanmar," he said to the crowd with a broad smile.
You can watch a clip of the foreign minister's speech in the video embedded above.
Asia Society Trustee Tom Freston, a panelist for the event, said Myanmar represents a "historic opportunity" and is "one of the last great markets to get integrated into the world economy."
Freston, former CEO of Viacom and the current board chairman of the ONE Campaign, said Myanmar, as "the last horse out of the gate," will have the advantage of learning from what approaches worked in other countries that have walked a similar economic path, many of which are located in Africa.
"The economic model, the only one that really seems to work, is free market," Freston said. "Really, the major ingredient is leadership. The countries that have succeeded really have strong central leadership."
And those leaders, he said, can't be shy about engaging in "business diplomacy."
"You really sort of have to be the salesman in chief," Freston said, noting that the speech by U Wunna Maung Lwin adopted the proper tone.
Watch Freston's comments in the video below. To watch the complete program, and to read a write-up by Asia Society Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski, click here.