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EBO Worldwide Network meetings in Myanmar

ECCT CEO and EBO Vice Chairman Freddie Hoeglund (left) handing over position papers to
European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani

ECCT CEO Freddie Hoeglund, led a delegation from the European Business Organisation's (EBO) World Wide Network to Yangon, Myanmar from 13-15 November. The EBO meetings coincided with the EU-Myanmar Task Force from the European Union headed by Baroness Catherine Ashton, European Commission Vice President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The EU-Myanmar task force was attended by top-level European officials including European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani among others, who was in the region visiting Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand with a delegation of 100 enterprises and representatives of associations of EU companies as part of the EC's "Mission for Growth" programme.

CEO Hoeglund in his capacity as Vice Chairman of the EBO network chaired the EBO's internal and external meetings including the meeting with European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani. That meeting was also attended by Allessandro Barberis, President of Eurochambres; Roland Verstappen, Chair of the International Committee at BusinessEurope; Didier Herbert, Director of the EC's Directorate General of Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR), members of Tajani's Cabinet and other EC officials. During the meeting, Tajani expressed the Commission's continued support for the EBO network. Delegates also discussed arranging a joint seminar in Brussels in 2014 with stakeholders to formulate a future cooperation strategy for the EBO.

During the trip, the CEO also had opportunities to speak with Baroness Catherine Ashton, European Commission Vice President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Chairperson of the Burmese opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party. A separate meeting was also held with the President and Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The EBO network was formally established in April 2011 with 11 founding members of European business chambers and other organisations not located within the European Union (or third markets). EBOs are privately funded organizations that address European business needs by pushing European standards whilst tackling trade issues and technical barriers to trade (TBTs) in third markets. The first EBO was established in the Philippines in 1978 followed by Taiwan 10 years later in 1988. Today the network has expanded into a global network of 23 EBOs, which is officially registered in Brussels. The network covers organisations in all of the major markets that the EU has identified for growth opportunities including Russia, Central Europe, India, Sri Lanka, Chile, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

The EBO supports EU initiatives by providing critical support for FTA negotiations and monitoring, writing position papers, actively participating in and providing input for the EU's Market Access teams and providing business centres and platforms in key markets, among other activities.

The EBO meets twice a year, once in Brussels and once in a country of one of its members, on a rotating basis. This year Myanmar was chosen because the scheduled time of the EBO meeting coincided with Vice Presidents Ashon's task force to the region as part of its Mission for Growth programme.