The European Union will reopen its market to Myanmar on July 19 under the so-called “Everything But Arms” preferential trade regime, which will grant duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all products except for arms and ammunitions.
The trade preferences for Myanmar will be applied retroactively as of June 13, 2012, the day when the International Labour Organisation Conference first recognized progress in the labor rights situation in the Asian nation, allowing Myanmar to claim back the import duties paid since then. The EU’s trade preferences had been suspended with regard to Myanmar in 1997 as a result of the country’s “serious and systematic violations” of international conventions on forced labor.
“Everything But Arms” is part of the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences, which helps developing countries boost their economy by providing them with tariff preferences for their exports to the EU. Myanmar will benefit from the scheme because the United Nations classifies it as a “least developed country.”
“The EU is also going to help Myanmar boost the capacity of both public and private firms to make use of these new opportunities,” said Karel De Gucht, EU’s trade commissioner, in a written statement.