Myanmar’s trade with members of the European Union (EU), during the first nine months of the current financial year 2019-2020, reached over US$2.57 billion, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar’s export to the EU surpassed its import, with $1.845 billion worth of export and $726.147 million valued import.
Beyond regional trade regime, Myanmar has established trade links with EU members. Germany is the biggest trade partner in EU with the most considerable trade value, of $564.993 million with Myanmar, followed by Italy in second place, with about $349.166 million. Spain was listed in third place with trade valued at $344.092 million, while The Netherlands stood at fourth place with an estimated trade value of $325.755 million. Myanmar’s trade with France reached about $243.332 million.
The value of bilateral trade with Belgium was $201.416 million, while that with Poland was $133.847 million. Businesses with Denmark, Sweden and Finland, brought in more than $75 million each. Trade values with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia was less than $50 million each.
The main export items are rice, pulses, tea leaf, coffee, garments on Cut-Make-Pack basis and fisheries. Meanwhile, Myanmar imports machinery, data-processing equipment, electrical and optical goods, chemical products, motor vehicles and parts and pharmaceutical products, cosmetic, food and beverages and consumer goods. The CMP garment sector is now encountering hardships because of the cancellation of order from the European countries and suspension of the trade by western nations during the coronavirus crisis.
Myanmar reinstated EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preference starting from 19 July 2013. Myanmar can enjoy GSP for export of fisheries, rice, pulses, agro products, bamboo and rattan finished products, forestry products, apparels and finished industrial goods. Nevertheless, the EU imposed a three-year tariff on Indica rice (long-grain rice) imported from Myanmar and Cambodia starting from 18 January 2019. —Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)