EU re-opens its market to Myanmar from July 19
July 18, 2013 - Belgium
From July 19, 2013, Myanmar, previously Burma, would benefit once again from a special, advantageous trade arrangement with the EU, according to a statement from the European Commission in Brussels.
Myanmar would be brought back under the EU’s 'Everything But Arms' preferential trade regime, which grants duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all products except for arms and ammunitions, following the Southeast Asian nation's recent efforts to improve the political, social and labour environments within the country.
“The trade preferences for Myanmar/Burma will be applied retroactively as of 13 June 2012, the day when the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conference first recognised progress in the labour rights situation in Myanmar/Burma,” said the statement.
The EU suspended its trade preference to Myanmar in 1997 as a result of the country's serious and systematic violations of core international conventions on forced labour.
Myanmar would benefit from the 'Everything But Arms' scheme because the United Nations classifies it as a 'Least Developed Country' (LDC).
"Trade is fundamental to supporting political stability and the EU's trade preferences mean we will give this reform-minded country priority access to the world's largest market. This has the potential to make a huge difference to the country's economic development and to bring real benefits to the people there,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.
“The EU is also going to help Myanmar boost the capacity of both public and private firms to make use of these new opportunities," he added.
“The European Commission believes that, despite the many structural constraints the country continues to face, under the 'Everything But Arms' preferential trade regime, Myanmar/Burma should see an increase in exports to the EU,” the statement said.
Subject to the retroactive submission and approval of the relevant certificate of origin, exporters in Myanmar/Burma will be able to claim back the import duties paid since June 13, 2012.
In 2012, Myanmar’s exports to the EU totaled €164 million, which is approximately 3 percent of the country's total exports to the world, and 0.01 percent of the EU's total imports. Most of these exports to the EU were clothing items.