1. Myanmar/Burma

On 22 March 2013, the European Parliament’s (EP’s) International Trade (INTA) Committee adopted a draft report on the Commission’s proposal to re-instate GSP benefits for Myanmar/Burma. The INTA Committee supports the Commission’s proposal to bolster reform in Myanmar by re-instating trade preferences, but the draft report highlights the fact that forced labour is still of EP concern, particularly in the military sector. The issue will be considered at the EP’s plenary meeting in May 2013, after which the proposal could be formally approved by the EU Member States in the Council. After formal adoption and publication, the resulting regulation is expected to apply retroactively as from July 2012 when the International Labour Organisation (ILO) lifted restrictions on cooperation with Myanmar/Burma.

  1. Bolivia

On 19 March 2013, the Commission published a notice announcing the termination of its investigation into the effects of the denunciation by Bolivia of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The investigation could have led to withdrawal of GSP+ tariff preferences for Bolivia. The Commission considered the fact that Bolivia acceded to the Convention again on 10 February 2013, and that rules and obligations under national law towards illicit drugs have remained substantially unchanged after 29 June 2011 (i.e. when Bolivia deposited an instrument of denunciation of the UN Convention with the UN Secretary General). The Commission therefore concluded that there had been no weakening in the effective implementation of those legal provisions and that GSP+ benefits for Bolivia should therefore not be withdrawn.