Burma will be allowed back in a European Union preferential market access scheme called Everything But Arms on Friday, the EU announced on Thursday. The decision had been expected and comes amid strengthening political and economic ties between Burma and the bloc following the wide-ranging reforms introduced by President Thein Sein. Burma will join a group of 49 least-developed countries that are granted duty-free and quota-free access to the European market for all their products, except for arms and ammunitions. The trade benefits will be applied retroactively per June 13, 2012. Annual Burma-EU trade is valued at $213 million.