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EU-Myanmar to build alliance

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Yangon, Nov 15: The European Union (EU) has vowed to build economic and political partnership with Myanmar and cooperate in areas of establishing industries and small and medium enterprises (SME), media reported on Friday.


It was pledged by EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who co-chaired the first day of the first plenary session of EU-Myanmar Task Force in Yangon on Friday, reported Xinhua.

Ashton is also vice president of the European Commission.

Ashton was quoted as saying that the objectives of the visit of EU representatives of Special Task Force are to support Myanmar's economic reform and democracy transition process.

It also sought to enhance development partnership between Myanmar and EU and to boost opportunities for economic growth and development by the two sides.

The EU-Myanmar Task Force was established in March.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs also vowed 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 per year.

EU extended a grant aid of $2.7 million for a three-year project of the Ames for Environmental, Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency (SWITCH-SMART) launched on Thursday in Yangon.

The project promotes and supports sustainable production of garments "Made in Myanmar", striving to increase the international competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises in the sector.

The EU has provided development assistance to Myanmar since 1996 with over $400 million. Following the political opening of the country, the commission announced a package of support of $200 million for the fiscal year 2012-13 to be spent in the sectors of health and education livelihood.