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Myanmar (Burma)

EU trade relations with Myanmar. Facts, figures and latest developments.

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Myanmar is a member of WTO since 1995 and, as a least developed country, benefits from the EU's 'Everything But Arms' scheme, which grants unilateral duty-free, quota-free access for all exports except arms and ammunition to the EU. In 2018, the EU entered into enhanced engagement under EBA with Myanmar, in view of assessing compliance with human rights and labour rights conventions.

After the military coup on 1 February 2021, the EU has reassessed its engagement towards Myanmar and its response, based on the Council Conclusions of 22 February 2021.

Trade picture

In 2021:

  • Total trade between the two partners equalled €2.6 billion.
  • The EU ranked as the fourth biggest trade partner of Myanmar (after China, Thailand and Singapore), accounting for 7.2% of the country’s total trade. Myanmar is the EU’s 75th largest trading partner (accounting for 0.1% of the EU’s total trade).
  • The EU imported goods worth €2.3 billion from Myanmar. The key EU imports from Myanmar are dominated by textiles, manufactures, footwear and agricultural products.
  • The EU exported goods worth almost €322 million to Myanmar. The key EU exports to Myanmar are dominated by machinery, transport equipment and chemicals.

The EU and Myanmar

The EU and Myanmar launched negotiations for an investment protection agreement in 2014, which were since then put on hold.

The agreement would:

  • offer investors from both sides a predictable and secure investment environment
  • protect them against discrimination
  • ensure they are treated in a fair and equitable way and
  • ensure that investments will not be unfairly taken away without fair compensation.

sustainability impact assessment complemented the negotiations. This evaluated the potential economic, social, environmental, and human rights impact of the future agreement.

The EU is committed to the conclusion of an ambitious investment protection agreement that will allow investors to benefit from the enhanced legal certainty and promote responsible investments from the EU to contribute to Myanmar's sustainable development. The negotiations were put on hold in 2017 as negotiations cannot happen in isolation of the broader context, in particular the EU’s serious concerns on human rights.

As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Myanmar benefits from the most favourable regime available under the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), namely the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

The EU’s GSP regulation allows vulnerable developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on exports to the EU, giving them vital access to the EU market and contributing to their growth. The EBA scheme is one arm of the GSP, which grants duty-free and quota-free access to the EU for all products (except arms and ammunition) for the world's Least Developed Countries, as defined by the United Nations.

Myanmar benefits significantly from its preferential access to the EU market under the EBA. Main exports to the EU are textiles, footwear, rice and precious stones.

Out of the total exports in 2020, about 98% were eligible to EBA preferential duties.

The GSP Regulation provides that trade preferences may be suspended in case of "serious and systematic violation of principles" laid down in the human rights and labour rights Conventions listed in Annex VIII of the Regulation.

Myanmar and ASEAN

Myanmar is one of the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and one of its three LDCs.

More information on ASEAN

Trading with Myanmar