Confusion about Myanmar’s readmission into the European Union’s generalized scheme of preferences on June 12 is handicapping efforts by exporters to re-enter the market, industry executives said last week.
A spokesperson for the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association told The Myanmar Times that the impact of duty-free access to Europe on domestic exporters remains unclear.
“When I asked exporters what changes the EU’s GSP decision will have on prices none could tell me anything,” he said. “They believe they need to continue paying tariffs. We still need to find out what impact these EU changes will have here.”
Fisheries businesses must also improve their quality-control standards because only a few have obtained EU certificates that allow them to export to that market, he added.
U Myo Nyunt, managing director of EU-certified General Food Technology and Industry said the fisheries sector will have the most difficult time meeting EU quality and safety requirements. “We need to work hard toward this goal and invest in quality controls,” he added.
Daw Toe Nandar Tin, treasurer of the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association, said most exporters had yet to upgrade the quality-control and food-safety standards necessary to export to the EU.
“EU standards are very high,” she said. “All aspects of the production line must be monitored – from the fishing boats and fish farms to transport and factories.
“If we want to export to the EU, we must cooperate with farmers,” she said, adding that only 14 companies have the necessary certificates to export to the EU.
U Tint Swe, a member of the association, said that until June 12, exports from Myanmar accrued a 20 percent tax for value-added products, while raw products were taxed at 13.7pc.
“The EU standards are so high that exporters face many difficulties in trying to meet them,” he added. “There are 136 factories producing fisheries products, but only about 10pc of them meet EU requirements.”
Source: Myanmar Times