The United States has started talks with Myanmar on
a trade and investment agreement and was considering granting the
once-pariah state preferential tariff status, a US official said
US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said he had discussed the pact during talks Thursday with Senior Minister Soe Thane and Commerce Minister Win Myint.
Such an agreement "would be an important step in normalizing our bilateral commercial relationship," said Marantis, the first US trade minister to visit Myanmar in decades.
Marantis said during the talks that the US government had begun considering including Myanmar in a programme that would give certain products from the country duty-free treatment when imported into the US.
The US eased economic sanctions on Myanmar last year in recognition of the political and economic reforms implemented by President Thein Sein since he came to power in March 2011.
The European Union dropped all of its sanctions on Myanmar Monday, except for an arms embargo, and is reportedly in the process of granting Myanmar duty-free status for some of its products.
Marantis said the US would have to consult "with our own Congress and the American public" before granting the same status.
"We also seek to make sure that countries are taking steps to give workers their internationally recognized rights," he said.
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