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MEPs Recommend Restoring Myanmar's Free Access To EU Market

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 March 2013


Members of the European Parliament have recommended that Myanmar's duty and quota free access to the European Union (EU) market should be reinstated. Parliament's trade committee backed the reinstatement of trade preferences by 28 to 2 votes.

Myanmar is eligible for free market access under the EU's Generalized System for Preferences (GSP) for least-developed countries. The EU has however been withholding these benefits since 1997 in response to reports of the "routine and widespread practice of forced labor." New reports that this practice has ceased to be "serious and systematic" led to the reinstatement proposal, Parliament says.

Trade MEPs are nonetheless drafting a separate resolution asking the Commission to monitor developments with respect to forced labor and to stress the responsibility of European businesses operating in the country. "It is vital that European businesses apply strict corporate social responsibility measures to their operations in Burma and that there is a high level of transparency and reporting, in order to encourage best practice amongst investors moving into Burma," rapporteur David Martin said.

Parliament as a whole must now vote for the reinstatement of trade preferences. Formal approval by the Council will then be required. After that the regulation will enter into force retroactively.

TAGS: business | Burma | regulation | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe

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