Myanmar and the United States held their first talks on trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) in Nay Pyi Taw last week.
The dialogue covered update on Myanmar trade initiatives and policy reform, import licensing regime, intellectual property rights and opportunities for bilateral cooperation as well as expanded economic engagement between ASEAN and the United States.
The opening of the dialogue was respectively addressed by Myanmar Deputy Minister of National Planning and Economic Development Daw Lei Lei Thein and US Deputy Assistant of US Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Karl Ehlers.
Aimed at promoting an attractive investment climate and expanding and diversifying trade in products and services between the two countries, the governments of Myanmar and the United States signed the trade and investment framework agreement on May 21 last year, creating a platform for ongoing dialogue and cooperation on trade and investment issues between the two sides.
Under the agreement, a Trade and Investment Council was established to monitor trade and investment relations between the two countries, identify opportunities for expanding trade and investment and identifying issues such as strengthening of rule of law and promoting transparent and corruption-free public institutions and the protection of intellectual property rights, workers’ right and the environment.
Following the easing of sanctions in 2012, the United States claimed that Myanmar-US bilateral trade has been increasing but still remains small.
According to Myanmar official statistics, Myanmar-US bilateral trade reached $104.44 million in the fiscal year 2013-14 which ended in March, of which Myanmar’s export to the United States stood at $24.78 million.
US Department of Commerce has also disclosed that as of the end of April, US companies had invested $243.6 million in Myanmar and US exports have increased from $9.8 million in 2010 to $145.7 million in 2013.