The Ministry of Commerce has announced negotiations with the United States regarding Myanmar’s GSP status are nearing the end.
GSP, or Generalised System of Preferences, is a system where up to 5,000 products may be exported by a nation to the United States (in this case) duty-free, absolving them of entry duty fees.
These negotiations come after the United States extended limited trade sanctions on Myanmar for another year, which includes a ban on doing business with individuals and companies on the SDN list, as well as a ban on the importation of jadeite and rubies.
“The sanction extensions were carried out according to their [USA] protocols, as set requirements have not been met. GSP is a commerce-related issue, and negotiations regarding that have reached the last stage,” U Toe Aung Myint, director of International Trade Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce, said.
The visit to Myanmar last month by United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker saw agreements made for Myanmar to apply for GSP status as soon as possible.
“The US Ambassador and officials assured us that the decision to grant GSP status was not affected by existing sanctions,” said U Toe Aung Myint.
Myanmar currently has GSP status with 38 countries, including 28 in the European Union.
Advisor to the minister for commerce, Dr Maung Aung, said while it’s likely Myanmar will be granted GSP status, it will not be soon.
Myanmar’s exports received GSP status in the past, however, it was withdrawn in July 1989 due to non-compliance of standard regulations.