Myanmar exports still need to meet quality standards despite the trade privileges bestowed under the EU’s General System of Preferences (GSP), Myanmar businessman have told Mizzima.
Myanmar Fisheries Federation Vice-Chairman Hnin Oo said that being awarded preferential trading rights did not settle all issues. He said that it would help in reducing the import duty which was a benefit to home-based buyers. That, in turn, would mean cheaper imported goods and a knock-on effect that Myanmar importers would make more contacts
with buyers in other countries.
However, he said, the main difficulty for Myanmar products is quality control which must meet strict international standards. For instance, food products must meet stringent safety regulations, he said.
Economist Hla Maung said that under GSP regulations, all products must be completely manufactured and exported in the country of origin. This creates a problem for Myanmar’s garment factories because they are generally aligned to a ‘Cutting, Manufacturing, Packing’ system of production.
Rice exports too would face restrictions. Most of the rice exported from Myanmar is 25% broken rice. Only fishery products and pulse and beans exports would enjoy this GSP privilege, Hla Maung said. Mizzima has learned that pulse and beans traders are planning to begin exporting to EU countries in August and September.
Fishery product exporters said that out of 50 applicants in Myanmar only 13 had received an EU certificate of international standard, allowing them to export to Europe.
Myanmar Fruit Producers and Exporters Association Vice-Chairman Le Le Oo said, “For fruit exporters, our products must meet the EU’s requirements. We cannot yet export our fruits to the EU since we do not yet have a VHT machine for checking the quality.”
The EU issued GSP benefits to Myanmar law on June 29, 2013, and it came into effect on July 19.
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