The European Union-Myanmar Trade Development Program was launched on Tuesday to facilitate Myanmar’ s return to the global trade market.
The introduction of the three-year technical plan will help both the public and private sectors to seize new trading opportunities and generate sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Myanmar.
With a budget of 10.5 million euros (11.82 million U.S. dollars) co-funded by the EU and Germany, the program is set to focus on fisheries and beans and pulses with strong potential for exports to the EU.
Fishery export to the 28-member EU is said to have been established, but beans and pulses sector fails to meet EU regulations in terms of post-harvest handling and packing procedures.
Since sanctions were lifted in 2012 with the restoration of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), Myanmar’s fishery sector has accessed the potentially lucrative EU market with 20 EU- standardcold storage facilities.
Meanwhile, the EU is also allocating a budget of 20 million euros for Myanmar’s aquaculture sector in 2016, as part of its bid to revive the country’s fish and prawn sector which was hardly hit by a nationwide flooding in July and August with an estimated loss of 90 billion kyats (70.03 million U.S. dollars).
Fishery-related businessmen estimated that the sector needs about 5.6 billion kyats (4 million U.S. dollars) to replenish farmers’ stocks with fingerling and it will take at least three years for the sector to recover from the damage caused by flooding.
In addition to the cash assistance, EU is also committed to offering high technology for the enhancement of the country’s shrimp and fish farming operations.
Myanmar’s fishery industry lacks investment and technology support, and fishery exporters are faced with challenges to expand their share of the EU market.
According to statistics, Myanmar’s fishery export earning amounted to nearly 420 million U.S. dollars in the 2014-15 fiscal year which ended in March, a drop of 100 million dollars from the previous year.
Myanmar continued to suffer a trade deficit of 2.196 billion U. S. dollars in the first five months (April-August) of the 2015-16 fiscal year following a deficit of 4.9 billion dollars in 2014-15 and 2.6 billion dollars in 2013-14.
Source: Global Post