Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission
On 22 March 2021, the Council imposed restrictive measures on eleven individuals responsible for the military coup and the subsequent military and police repression against peaceful demonstrators /1. In addition, all other tools at the disposal of the EU will be kept under review, while seeking to avoid measures which could adversely affect the people of Myanmar, especially the most vulnerable /2.
The EU unilaterally grants to Myanmar duty and quota free access to its market under Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 (“the GSP Regulation”) /3, with the objective of fostering sustainable economic, social and environmental development, and eradicating poverty.
Temporary withdrawal of preferences (Article 19) /4, and GSP general safeguards (Article 22), as foreseen under the GSP Regulation are entirely different measures. Notably, safeguards respond to the imperative grounds of urgency relating to the deterioration of the economic and/or financial situation of EU producers. This is why safeguard measures to counteract this deterioration were introduced in January 2019 /5, in particular with regard to imports of Indica rice from Cambodia and Myanmar. These measures remain in place until January 2022.
The Commission has been closely monitoring the level of rice imports into the Union including Japonica rice, as well as the economic situation of EU rice producers. Should new distortions to the EU market occur, safeguard measures under Article 22 are the appropriate policy instrument to use. The Commission will look at any duly substantiated application, and initiate an investigation if justified on the basis of the evidence provided. The Commission will adopt a proposal to review the GSP legal framework later in 2021.
3 Generalised Scheme of Preferences – https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?VonArtikel=2&VonBuchstabe=d&uri=CELEX:32012R0978
4 Temporary withdrawal of preferences is designed to respond, among others, to serious and systematic violations of principles laid down in the core human and labour rights UN/ILO Conventions listed in Annex VIII, Part A of the GSP Regulation.
See question(s) : E-000696/2021 Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP
Source: Answer to a written question – Suspension of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme with Myanmar given the human rights situation in the country and the state of the EU rice sector – E-000696/2021(ASW)