09.10.2017

Myths and risks of the EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement - Policy Brief

As the signing of the EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) draws near, concerns over the secrecy surrounding the agreement’s negotiations and the risks it poses abound, alongside many myths about its potential benefits. MATA, KESAN,Transnational Institute, MISEREOR and several other organisations published a policy brief with in-depth analysis. The paper argues that the benefits of the IPA are highly overstated, and the risks seriously underestimated.

 

Myths and risks of the EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement

Myanmar is in the early days of democratization, with many laws and policies from the country’s military era in need of reform. Myanmar faces formidable challenges to build regulatory frameworks – not least in relation to the ownership and revenue sharing of natural resources in various ethnic areas, to the protection of human and labour rights and the environment.

The IPA could have major negative impacts on democratic development, human rights and sustainable peace in Myanmar, depriving it of the necessary policy space to harness investment to serve sustainable development and peace. It also has the potential to bankrupt the country through potential lawsuits filed by foreign companies unwilling to see stronger regulations that may impact their profits.

Furthermore, there are serious human rights violations against Muslim communities in Rakhine State as well as peoples in other parts of the country.1 The EU has made the upholding of human rights an integral part of its external trade relations – so if negotiations continue with Myanmar under the current circumstances, this commitment is in question.

The IPA negotiations may be drawing to a close, but there is still time for a much-needed, wide-ranging public debate among parliamentarians and civil society to close the democratic gap opened up by the IPA negotiations. Parliamentarians in Europe and Myanmar have a key role to play in this debate. This briefing includes a series of recommendations that aim to strengthen the Parliamentarians’ role.

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