The European Union operates a Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility. This is granted unilaterally to developing countries. This translates into special tariffs that has seen value of exports to the EU from Myanmar grow to over $800 million for the financial year 2016 – 2017. Reported figures for imports show a total value of $627 million for the same period. The Ministry of Commerce has also published figures showing total trade values of $1.4 billion, which includes trade from all countries including the EU. Trade was seen to grow more rapidly with the EU thanks to the GSP.
The GSP schemes offered by the various donor countries and their rules of origin differ fundamentally. Goods complying with the conditions of the GSP of the USA, for example, will not necessarily comply with the EU GSP. These GSP benefits have applied since 2013. In 2016 the USA also authorised special tariffs.
Annual figures from the EU indicate the leading countries in terms of annual volumes of trade are Germany and the UK. The products ordered being from the food production and wider agricultural sectors in Myanmar.
In 2015 the EU agreed a three-year development programme with Myanmar, to encourage trade between the two areas. This followed research that showed trading volumes were well below predicted values. The initiative has worked well.
The Myanmar Trade Development programme (TDP) was born, further signalling the re-emergence of Myanmar into world trade. The TDP is also aimed at enhancing sustainable economic growth, to raise standards of living and support inclusive development in Myanmar. The programme was implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in cooperation with the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce. The EU allocated 10.5 million Euros to the project, with 500,000 Euros from Germany.
Clearly with these initiatives trading volumes and demand are set to grow further. Both imports and exports enjoy confident and expanding markets.
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