The European Union (EU) has initiated negotiations on an investment protection agreement with Burma/Myanmar, following its reinstatement of trade preferences with the country last July.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has travelled to Nay Pyi Taw to commence talks with Dr Kan Zaw, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development in Myanmar.

The agreement is aimed at improving protection and fair treatment for investors in both the EU and Myanmar, contributing to attracting new investment in the process.

“This investment agreement could become an important accelerator for the reform process in Myanmar/Burma,” said De Gucht.

“Experience has shown that improving legal certainty and predictability for investments is key in providing business opportunities and much-needed development for this growing economy.”

Myanmar’s exports to the EU were up 35% to EUR223m in 2013, with the share of the garment industry falling to 58.2% from 66.9% in 2012.