The European Parliament’s international trade committee has urged the European Union to reinstate Myanmar’s duty and quota free access to the EU market, in support of the European Commission’s proposal to back Myanmar in its reforms.
The reinstatement of trade preferences, supported by the trade committee by 28 votes to 2, with no abstentions, but yet to be adopted by the full EU House and approved by member states, will give Myanmar duty and quota free access to the EU market for all its exports except arms and ammunition. The EC estimates the restoration could help increase Myanmar’s exports by 30 percent.
Myanmar is eligible for free market access under the EU’s Generalized System for Preferences for least-developed countries, but since 1997, the EU has been withholding these benefits because of reports of forced labor. The proposal to reinstate preferences follows reports that the use of forced labor in Myanmar has largely ceased.
The House will vote on the reinstatement of trade preferences for Myanmar in May. Formal approval by the European Council will then be required.