The European Union will continue supporting Myanmar as a trade and development partner, said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht during his two-day visit to Myanmar from March 19.

Karel De Gucht expressed his pleasure at the strides in two-way trade between the EU and Myanmar in 2013, which amounted to 569 million EUR (786 million USD), a year-on-year increase of 41 percent.

Myanmar exports to the EU grew by 35 percent in last year to 223 million EUR compared with 165 million EUR in the previous year.

With the reinstatement of EU trade preferences in July 2013, Myanmar companies now enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to European market of over 500 million consumers catering for all products except for arms and ammunition, Karel De Gucht said in an EU press release.

He is scheduled to launch negotiation on an EU-Myanmar investment protection agreement on March 20 in Nay Pyi Taw.

Karel De Gucht’s March 19-20 visit to Myanmar aims to reinforce trade ties between the country and the EU.-VNA