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Myanmar: Labor orgs call on EU to reconsider trade privileges withdrawal; loss of jobs & factory shutdowns feared

Author: Kyaw Thu & Kyaw Htun Naing, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 29 October 2018

"Myanmar Labor Groups Urge EU Not to Drop Crucial Trade Preferences," 29 October 2018

Myanmar labor organizations urged visiting European Union delegates... to reconsider the possible withdrawal of trade preferences that allow the developing country tariff-free access to the bloc, under threat from Brussels in response to alleged ethnic cleansing of ethnic Rohingya during a 2017 military campaign.

The EU delegation met with representatives from the Confederation of Trade Unions in Myanmar (CTUM), the Myanmar Infrastructure, Craft and Service (MICS) organizations, and the Agriculture and Farmers Federation of Myanmar (AFFM) in the commercial hub Yangon to discuss the preferential trade arrangement.

The mission’s findings will help the EU determine whether to withdraw Myanmar’s Everything But Arms (EBA) status...

Myanmar labor groups appealed to the mission not to withdrawal the EBA arrangement.

“We told them we don’t agree with the EU’s [possible] withdrawal of trade preferences,” said Maung Maung, president of the Myanmar Confederation of Trade Unions. “It would reflect badly on Myanmar workers and would be a minus sign for development work in Myanmar.”

Naw Aung Aung, vice president of MICS, said that if the EU withdraws trade preferences from Myanmar, its support for the country’s democratic reform will be “fruitless.”

Tun Tun, a central executive committee member of the MGMA, said that the withdrawal of trade preferences would force factories to shut down and workers to lose their jobs.

 

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