EU-Myanmar trade program launches

A three-year development program to promote trade between the European Union and Myanmar was signed at a ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

The program (TDP) will be implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce. The EU has put 10.5 million euros towards the project and Germany has given 500,000 euros.

Trade between the EU and Myanmar doubled last year to K1500 billion ($1.16 billion), said Roland Kobia, EU ambassador to Myanmar.

“Trade is thriving. Myanmar currently exports fisheries, textiles and agricultural products such as beans, pulses and maize to the EU, but we want to expand this,” he said.

Initially the scheme will focus on the two sectors with the strongest potential for exporting to the EU – fisheries and beans. The program will help Myanmar to reform trade policies, said U Win Myint, Union minister for commerce.

“The ministry will closely cooperate – we believe we can fully engage with the international trade community through this program,” he said.

He noted that trade with Europe has yet to meet expectations, despite EU trade privileges, adding that the quality and packaging of Myanmar’s agricultural products make it difficult to penetrate the European market.

The program’s goals include development of a consumer protection agreement, simplifying customs procedures and setting up an EU market information centre.

 Translation by Zar Zar Soe