Imports into Canada from Myanmar will now enjoy tariff free status after the Canadian government restored the country’s General Preferential Tariff (GPT) and Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT).
Myanmar’s eligibility for GPT and LDCT had been removed in 1997 as part of a widespread global response to concerns about human rights violations in the country. The Canada Gazette reported that the government’s order highlighted the fact that in recent years there have been positive developments in Myanmar, 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.
The Canadian government said that in light of these positive developments, countries are gradually easing sanctions and normalising trade relations with Myanmar and Canada has already taken a number of actions towards normalising relations with that country. On April 24, 2012, Canada eased economic sanctions taken against Myanmar. Canada has also opened an embassy in Yangon and appointed its first-ever resident ambassador to Myanmar. It said that reinstating GPT and LDCT eligibility for Myanmar is consistent with these actions.
The reinstatement by Canada of GPT and LDCT entitlement for Myanmar will help support the continued progress towards reform in that country. The European Union reintegrated Myanmar into its preferential tariff regime, the Generalized System of Preferences, in 2013.
Based on current trading patterns, it is estimated that annual customs duties foregone by Canada from providing Myanmar with GPT and LDCT eligibility will be approximately $240,000.