May 23, 2013

U.S., Myanmar sign trade agreement

The United States and Myanmar on Tuesday signed a trade and investment framework agreement, announced the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a statement.

The signing of the agreement came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama met with Myanmar President Thein Sein in the White House. Sein was the first president of Myanmar to visit the White House in 47 years.

The trade agreement, signed by Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Myanmar's Deputy Commerce Minister Pwint San, would create a platform for ongoing dialogue and cooperation on trade and investment issues between the two governments, said the USTR's office in the statement.

"The United states supports reforms that lay the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future," said Acting U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis. "Economic reforms and trade are mutually supportive. Stronger institutions, transparency, and rule of law create stronger foundations for commercial transactions, trade and investment."

The White House also hoped this trade agreement would increase its support for reform and engagement with Myanmar.

Bilateral relations between the United States and Myanmar became strained in late 1980s and didn't improve until March 2011, when a civilian government was formed in the Southeast Asian country, with Thein Sein taking office as president of Myanmar. The Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar in March 2011 and ended sanctions on it over investment.

Official U.S. statistics show bilateral trade between the two countries totaled 90 million dollars in the first three months of the year.

Source: Xinhua