Nov 15, 2013

Myanmar, European Union sign package of accords on cooperation

Myanmar and the European Union (EU) on Friday signed a package of accords on cooperation at their Task Force's first plenary session in Nay Pyi Taw, state radio and TV reported.

The accords include holding of policy-related discussions on small and medium enterprises, and raw materials; cooperation in long-term development of tourism industry, joint statement on EU's provision of aid for development, cooperation between European investment bank and Myanmar and cooperation in agriculture.

The signing took place after Myanmar President U Thein Sein addressed the opening of the plenary session, which was divided into three sessions, task force economic session, inter- parliamentary session and task force political session.

The EU-Myanmar Task Force was established in March.

On Thursday, three forums of the EU-Myanmar task force were held in Yangon which included business forum, democratic civil society forum and development forum.

According to a prior press release of the European Commission, EU will increase its aid of up to 120 million U.S. dollars per year for Myanmar's rural development, education, governance and peace building.

A small and medium enterprise program was also launched aimed at promoting and supporting sustainable production of Myanmar garments.

In April this year, EU announced in Luxembourg total lifting of sanctions against Myanmar with the exception of arms embargo. In June, the EU readmitted Myanmar to its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), allowing it to benefit from lower duties on export.

According to official figures, EU's investment in Myanmar from Britain, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Denmark and Cyprus amounted to about 3.855 billion U.S. dollars as of July 2013.

Bilateral trade between Myanmar and EU reached 226.37 million dollars in 2012 of which Myanmar's export to EU amounted to 43.54 million dollars while its import from EU stood at 182.83 million dollars.

Source: Xinhua