GSP and Free Trade Agreements in Myanmar

GSP facilities

Myanmar benefits from the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) from 39 countries, including all members of the EU, US and Japan. GSP provides exporters with reduced or zero duties when exporting seafood products. However because of inconsistency with EU standards and lack of quality, traders state they have not been able to take advantage of of the opportunities, according to Myanmar Business Today (April 2016). The most important markets for seafood exports are Japan, China and USA. The EU market The European Union resumed its GSP for Myanmar in July 2013. In 1997 Myanmar’s GSP status was withdrawn due to violations of the principles of the ILO convention on forced labour. Since 2011 political and economic reform took place and in 2012 International Labour Organisation (ILO) decided to suspend its restrictive resolution on Myanmar in 2012. Consequently Myanmar’s GSP status was reinstated in 2013, with retroactive application as from 13 June 2012. Thereby the EU grants Myanmar duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market for export for all products, but arms and ammunition. The US market Myanmar first received GSP status from the US in 1976, though it was revoked in 1989. In 2015 Myanmar’s GSP status was reinstated by signing the Trade Preferences Extensions Act. This act makes GSP retroactive to 31 July 2013, entitling American importers to refund. The GSP status is supposed to be in place until 31 December 2017. Note that the GSP status requires that Myanmar meets various requirements, including a proper framework around intellectual property protection, which is still weak. The Japanese market Japans GSP scheme was set in July 2011 for ten years up to 31st March 2021. Myanmar benefits from the GSP status trading with Japan.

Free Trade Agreements 

Myanmar is involved in ten free trade agreements of which six are signed and in effect, one is signed but not yet in effect, and three more are under negotiation (ADB 2016).
  • Myanmar-US FTA (FA) signed
  • ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement Negotiations launched
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Free Trade Area Negotiations launched
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Negotiations launched
  • ASEAN Free Trade Area Signed and In Effect
  • ASEAN-Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement Signed and In Effect
  • ASEAN-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement Signed and In Effect
  • ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Signed and In Effect
  • ASEAN-People’s Republic of China Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement Signed and In Effect
  • ASEAN-[Republic of] Korea Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement Signed and In Effect