The European Union’s Future Investment Relationship with Myanmar

Submission, 15 July 2013

The recent political and economic developments in Myanmar have prompted the European Union (EU) to normalise its overall relations. The EU Council Conclusions of 23 April 2012 on Myanmar/Burma set up the principles under which the Council plans to continue its engagement with Myanmar. The Council recognised the contribution the private sector has to make to the development of Myanmar and welcomed European companies exploring trade and investment opportunities. In doing so it encouraged the practice of the highest standards of integrity and corporate social responsibility and working with the authorities, the private sector and the people of Myanmar to create the best possible regulatory environment. 

On 22 April 2013, the EU Council lifted all restrictive measures imposed on Myanmar, with the exception of the arms embargo, and reiterated its commitment to collaborate with Myanmar in assisting the reform process and contributing to economic, political and social development. It again encouraged responsible trade and investment. The legislative procedure for the reinstatement of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) is ongoing. Once adopted, Myanmar, due to its economic status as a Least Developed Country (LDC), will be allowed to benefit from duty-free quota-free access to the EU market.  

At present there is no Bilateral Investment Treaty between Myanmar and any EU Member State and no full-fledged free trade agreement negotiations are foreseen in the near future. Against this background, the Commission states that negotiations of an investment agreement with the EU could both help Myanmar in its development strategy and its integration into the world economy and ensure that all EU investors are treated on an equal footing in Myanmar. The feasibility of such an investment agreement will be explored when Myanmar's President U Thein Sein visits Brussels on 5 March 2013. 

In this context, the European Commission is launching a broad public consultation to gather views from relevant stakeholders regarding the future EU-Myanmar investment relationship. This IHRB submission is made in response to the Commission's consultation questions.

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