Two factories in the Yangon are reportedly producing vests and jackets for the company's Old Navy and Banana Republic brands. They will be ready for sale in the US in the next month or two, according to a statement released Saturday by the US Embassy.
While Asian businesses have long had a strong presence in Myanmar, it's only in the last few years that companies from North America and Europe have started returning, thanks to the easing of sanctions imposed on the country during its half-century of military rule.
There are plenty of obstacles in Myanmar, including electricity shortages and poor roads. But a cheap and abundant -- though poorly trained -- labour force makes the country especially attractive to retailers.
"This is a historic moment for Myanmar," Wilma Wallace, a Gap vice-president, said at a ceremony attended by the US ambassador. "By entering Myanmar, we hope to help accelerate economic and social growth in the country, and build on our track record of improving working conditions and building local capacity in garment factories around the world."
Gap will produce vests and jackets for Old Navy and Banana Republic at factories owned by a South Korean company.
The size of the investment was not announced, but the English-language Myanmar Times said it had agreed to hire an additional 700 employees at one of the factories, bringing the total number of workers to around 2,000 at each site.
Gap said in a statement that it was working with US Agency for International Development, CARE International and its PACE programme to launch activities focused on technical and skills training for female workers.