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June 24, 2007

Tariff exempted on more than 200 Myanmar products
Brunei has exempted tariff on more than 200 products imported from Myanmar in a bid to boost bilateral trade which is low, a local media reported June 24.

The import tariff of 204 Myanmar products were lifted under the ASEAN Integration System of Preference program, the weekly Myanmar Times quoted the Ministry of Commerce as saying.
These products cover cosmetics, tire, wood products, plywood, parquet, carpet, clothes, fabrics, jewelry (excluding diamond), electrical appliance and musical instrument.

According to the ministry, the tariff exemption applies to Myanmar products made with local raw materials whereas products made with foreign raw materials, the exemption is qualified only for those using at least 40 percent of local contents.

Brunei represents the seventh in terms of trade with Myanmar among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ahead of Cambodia and Laos, the sources said, disclosing that Myanmar-Brunei bilateral trade accounted for about US$800,000 out of Myanmar's total trade with ASEAN members which stood US$4.06 billion in the fiscal year 2006-07 which ended in March.

The tariff exemption program, initiated in 2001, is aimed at better integrating the economy of ASEAN's four newest members -- Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with that of its six more developed original members -- Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The regional members have agreed to eliminate all import duties by 2010 for its six oldest members and by 2015 for the four latest members under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) scheme.
Meanwhile, Thailand, the biggest foreign investor in Myanmar with US$7.3 billion or more than 53% of the country's total foreign investment, is planning to increase its investment in the farming sector by establishing joint venture contract farms in accord with another plan agreed under the Ayeyawaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) program launched in 2003.

Accordingly, Thailand will reduce tariff on agricultural imports from other ACMECS countries under the contract farming scheme, reports said. Xinhua

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