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Trade arrangement with Burma

Article Date: 25 September 2012

Myanmar/Burma is set to benefit once again from a special, advantageous trade arrangement with the EU following recognition by the international community of the country’s recent efforts to improve the political, social and labour environments there.

Today the European Commission has adopted a proposal to bring the country back under the so-called ’Everything But Arms’ preferential trade regime which would grant duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all products except for arms and ammunitions.

After many years of international isolation, the EU believes the unprecedented developments now mean the time is right for Europe to open a new chapter in its relations with this South-East Asian country. The Commission believes that, despite the many structural constraints the country continues to face, Myanmar/Burma should see an increase in exports to the EU market under the ‘Everything But Arms’ preferential trade regime.

In 1997, the country was suspended from the GSP scheme as a result of the country’s serious and systematic violations of core international conventions on forced labour.

In June this year, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concluded that significant progress had been achieved by Myanmar/Burma, although some residual problems with forced labour persist. On this basis, EU law foresees that preferences should be reinstated.

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