The Canadian government has restored the General Preferential Tariff (GPT) and the Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT) systems for Myanmar, rewarding the current semi-civilian government’s reform efforts.
Myanmar’s eligibility for the two preferential tariff treatments was revoked in 1997 in response to the rampant human rights abuses perpetrated by the military rulers.
GPT offers tariff rates that are lower than Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) Tariff rates to goods imported from developing countries, and LDCT offers duty-free access on the importation into Canada of all products (with the exception of supply-managed agricultural goods) from least developed countries, as identified by the United Nations.
The Canadian Department of Finance in a statement said: “In recent years, there have been positive developments in Burma, notably elections in 2010 that led to a transition to civilian rule, the release of political prisoners, economic reforms, and the introduction of new laws to protect freedom of association and assembly.
“In light of these positive developments, countries are gradually easing sanctions and normalising trade relations with Burma. In that regard, Canada has already taken a number of actions towards normalising relations with Burma. On April 24, 2012, Canada eased economic sanctions taken against Burma. Canada has also opened an embassy in Yangon and appointed its first-ever resident ambassador to Burma. Reinstating GPT and LDCT eligibility for Burma is consistent with these actions.”
The department said the reinstatement by Canada of GPT and LDCT entitlement for Myanmar will “help support the continued progress towards reform” in the country.
Based on current trading patterns, the department estimated that annual customs duties foregone by the federal government from providing Myanmar with GPT and LDCT eligibility will be approximately $240,000.
The European Union reintegrated Myanmar into its preferential tariff regime, the Generalised System of Preferences, in 2013.