RANGOON — A three-year European Union-funded program to help streamline new trading opportunities for Burma was launched during a ceremony in Naypyidaw on Tuesday.
The EU-Burma Trade Development Programme, with a budget of €10.5 million (15 billion kyat), aims to strengthen Burma’s economy by “facilitating trade and removing trade barriers,” according to an EU press release issued on Tuesday.
“It is essential to make the best use of the opportunities of international trade and preferential market access, such as to the EU, for the widest benefit of the Myanmar people,” EU Ambassador to Burma Roland Kobia said in the statement.
Kobia attended the official inauguration ceremony in Naypyidaw on Tuesday alongside Burma’s Commerce Minister Win Myint.
According to the EU statement, the program aims to strengthen consumer protection, enhance quality control, simplify customs procedures and modernize trade infrastructure.
The fishery and beans sectors will be the program’s initial focus. Fish exports already flow to the EU, while the beans sector requires improvements regarding packaging, post-harvest handling and regulatory compliance, the EU said.
In cooperation with the commerce ministry, the program will run until 2017, with additional funding contributed by EU-member Germany.
The EU exported €500 million (US$561 million) in goods to Burma in 2014, while its imports from the country totaled €400 million (US$449 million), according to European Commission statistics.