Safeguard law to curb unfair imports planned

The Ministry of Commerce is preparing a law aimed at closing the widening trade deficit.

The “Safeguard Law” will allow for countermeasures against unfair practices, such as instituting an anti-dumping taxes on those selling below cost to corner the market, and countervailing duties, which aim to neutralise foreign subsidies.

Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Win Myint, representing Yangon’s Hlaing township, said the government should be prepared to implement preventative measures against excessive imports.

While Myanmar is a member of the World Trade Organisation and must abide by its guidelines, it must also be concerned with possible negative effects from removing tariffs and trade barriers.

“Our draft of the Safeguard Law has reached the second stage, and we are discussing it with government departments,” said deputy minister for commerce U Pwint San. Work on the third stage will start on May 13, as the working committee holds meetings with government departments, organisations and private businesses.

U Win Myint said some entrepreneurs are worried that lowered trade barriers may result in a consistent trade deficit for the country. The ASEAN Free Trade Zone is to open at the end of 2015, and while Myanmar is somewhat insulated until 2018, it will ultimately have to drop its trade barriers.

In the past, taxes could be targeted about foreign companies, but the new commercial law removes much of this discretionary power, he said.

Deputy minister U Pwint San said many international countries have reduced their trade barriers to zero, but still maintain the powers to safeguard the market against those dumping products or unfairly subsidising their own production.

Pyithu Hluttaw speaker Thura U Shwe Mann said he suggested the law be drawn up as soon as possible, to submit it to the combined Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in June.

“We want to give our hluttaw a suitable amount of time to discuss the bill,” he said. “If it’s submitted by June, it can be discussed for two months in the hluttaw.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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