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Gap to become first American retailer to enter Myanmar market since the end of military rule

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, a shopper walks down the steps at a Gap store in Los Angeles. Gap Inc. has announced plans to produce clothing in Myanmar, the first American retailer to enter the market since the country began its transition to democracy three years ago. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

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FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, file photo, a shopper walks down the steps at a Gap store in Los Angeles. Gap Inc. has announced plans to produce clothing in Myanmar, the first American retailer to enter the market since the country began its transition to democracy three years ago. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

YANGON, Myanmar - Gap Inc. has announced plans to produce clothing in Myanmar, the first American retailer to enter the market since the country began its transition to democracy three years ago.

Two factories in the commercial capital, Yangon, are reportedly producing garments for the company's Old Navy and Banana Republic brands.

A statement released by the U.S. Embassy on Saturday said the clothing would be ready for sale in the U.S. by this summer.

While Asian nations have long had a strong presence in Myanmar, it's only in the last few years that companies from the U.S. and Europe have started returning, thanks to the easing of sanctions imposed on the country during its half-century of military rule.

The retail market is especially attractive because of Myanmar's abundant and cheap labour force.

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