The EU-Myanmar Task Force opened its first plenary session to discuss a comprehensive support base for Myanmar’s democratic transition in Yangon on November 15.

Myanmar media quoted Head of the European Union delegation, EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Public Policy Catherine Ashton as saying that the EU has vowed to build an economic and political partnership with Myanmar. She said they will cooperate in the areas of establishing industries and small and medium enterprises (SME), developing commercial standards and formulating strategies in different sectors, such as tourism.

Aston, also vice president of the European Commission, said the objectives of the task force visit are to support Myanmar’s economic reform and democracy transition process, to enhance the development partnership between Myanmar and EU and to boost opportunities for economic growth between the two sides.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs also pledged to reinforce development cooperation in some proposed main sectors with Myanmar from 2014 to 2020, namely rural development, education, governance and support to peace building, saying that EU support could increase up to 120 million USD per year.

Established in March, the EU-Myanmar Task Force includes EU business leaders, civil organisations and politicians who want to set up partnership with Myanmar.

Over 100 European and Myanmar businesses took part in a EU-Myanmar business forum in Yangon during November 14 and 15 to promote a all rounded cooperation between the two sides.

The EU has provided development assistance to Myanmar since 1996 with over 400 million USD. In April, the EU lifted all embargoes against Myanmar except a weapons embargo order. In June this year EU re-granted preferential commercial treatment to the country. The two way trade between the EU and Myanmar reached 226 million USD in 2012, Myanmar exports to the EU market posted at over 43 million USD while Myanmar imports from the EU valued at over 182 million USD.-VNA