The US and Myanmar have inked a trade and investment framework agreement that will “create a platform for on-going dialogue and cooperation on trade and investment issues between the two governments.”
“The United States supports reforms [in Myanmar] that lay the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future,” said Acting US Trade Representative (USTR) Demetrios Marantis in a statement.
Economic reforms and trade, he said, “are mutually supportive. Stronger institutions, transparency, and rule of law create stronger foundations for commercial transactions, trade and investment.”
The trade agreement was signed by Marantis and Myanmar’s Deputy Commerce Minister Pwint San on Tuesday just a day after President Barack Obama met with Myanmar President Thein Sein in the White House.
Sein was the first president of Myanmar to visit the White House in 47 years.
Bilateral relations between the US and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, became strained in the late ‘80s and didn’t improve until March 2011, when a civilian government was formed with Thein Sein taking office as president.
Following the easing of sanctions on the Southeast Asia country in 2012, bilateral trade is increasing but still remains small.
According to the US Department of Commerce, bilateral trade in the first quarter of this year totaled $90 million, including $89 million in US exports to and $1 million in imports from Myanmar.
In 2012, Myanmar’s total two-way goods trade with the world was roughly $20 billion.