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Myanmar appeals to the EU to reconsider GSP withdrawal


Myanmar appealed to the European Union (EU) not to withdraw the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) rights granted to garment and fishery industries in Myanmar as tens and thousands of workers may lose their jobs, sources said.

Organizations such as the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) and Myanmar Infrastructure, Craft and Service (MICS) came together to discuss the appeal to the EU on December 17 at the office of the UMFCCI.

“We organized a meeting in concern with the possible withdrawal of GSP rights by the EU. We are doing many things for workers’ rights and they are improving. If the GSP is revoked, it will be a huge step backwards and everything we achieved will be lost. For instance, over 700,000 workers from the garment industry and over 400,000 workers in fishery industry will lose their jobs and their families will be in trouble. We don’t want to see this situation. So, we made a request to the EU not to revoke the GSP,” said Chairman Maung Maung of the CTUM.

Zaw Oo, Executive Director of Centre for Economic and Social Development said he hoped the EU will make a decision to revoke the GSP based on the labour sector and he is hoping the EU not to withdraw the GSP rights.

“As for me, I believe there is no way they will withdraw the GSP as our country is moving forward to the future in the labour sector. I think there isn’t any fault in the labour sector. And I meant that not even in favour of my own country,” said Zaw Oo.

In the appeal letter, it is stated that the removal of GSP serves only to exacerbate the existing socio-economic hardships faced by a labour market that is still fragile and undeveloped as well as the main impact would only be felt by grassroots employees through job losses and destruction of livelihoods. Myanmar will face more serious consequences than the human rights issue they face currently.

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