Trade Policy and Market Access
Myanmar is a founding member of the WTO and, on the regional level, has been a member of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997, with current component agreements on goods, services and investment. Its trade with other ASEAN member countries accounts for approximately half of Myanmar’s overall trading volume. Due to its ASEAN membership, Myanmar also participates in ASEAN's preferential agreements with countries, including Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Bilaterally, Myanmar has signed four memorandums of understanding on establishing bilateral joint trade commissions, with neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It has also signed five border trade agreements, with China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao DPR). Myanmar’s simple average MFN applied was 5.6 per cent in 2012 and 5.5 per cent in 2013. Imports from ASEAN and trading partners enjoy a preferential tariff rate different from other foreign imports. Prior to their abolishment in 2012, the longstanding fixed exchange rate system as well as a non-automatic import licence were also impediments to market access. However, since 2011, in order to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of Myanmar to foreign investors, the government has implemented a number of policies, including improving support services, lowering export taxes, easing restrictions on the financial sectors, etc. As a least developed country (LDC), Myanmar is keen to take advantage of the special and differential (S&D) treatment provisions and technical assistance offered to LDCs. Moreover, it is also the beneficiary of the Global System of Trade Preferences among developing countries, the Greater Mekong Sub-region programme (together with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam and Yunnan province, China), as well as a number of GSP schemes given by Australia, Belarus, Japan, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, and Turkey etc.
Standard Compliance and Other Relevant Import/Export Restrictions
Myanmar is adopting the SPS standards following those of Codex Alimentarius, ASEAN, and the World Organisation for Animal Health. The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development are responsible for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, while The Plant Protection Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is the competent authority to issue SPS certificates. SPS-related certificates are mandatory for: prepared food, fisheries; pharmaceuticals; pesticides; and crops, while import inspection permits are also needed for imports of live animals, animal products, animal feed and veterinary drugs. The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, is the national enquiry point to the WTO regarding SPS issues. The Director General, Myanmar Scientific and Technological Research Department, Ministry of Science and Technology are serving as the national enquiry point of technical barriers to trade (TBT).
WTO, 2014, Trade Policy Review (Myanmar)