The value of Myanmar-China border trade through Muse land border plunged to US$264.46 million over the first months of the current financial year 2020-2021 owing to the impacts caused by the COVID-19 resurgence. The figures reflect a decrease of $353.5 million compared to the corresponding period of the previous budget year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Exports through Muse border were worth $126.136 million, while imports were valued at $138.32 million between 1 October and 6 November 2020. During a-year ago period, Muse border post witnessed trade worth $617.976 million.
Muse border checkpoint is an essential one in Myanmar and handles an enormous volume of trade. But at times, it has experienced a sharp drop in business on account of China clamping down on illegal goods, resulting in a halt in trading of agricultural products. Moreover, the COVID-19 impacts slow the trade this year. Following the COVID-19 consequences, trading via Muse did not reach a monthly target of above $400 million in the previous months this year. Myanmar intended to reach the trade target of over $5 billion through Muse for the last FY. However, only $4.8 billion worth goods were traded. Border trade values at Muse stood at $5.4 billion in the 2016-2017FY, $5.8 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $4.9 billion in the 2018-2019FY respectively, as per data of the Commerce’s Ministry. At present, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19. Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar border crossings in light of COVID-19 fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods.
Following the detection of COVID-19 cases in Ruili (Shweli), China shut down its Customs office from 15 September, and it was reopened on 22 September, said U Min Thein, vice-president of Muse rice depot. On 9 November, some people tested positive for COVID-19 were found. The traders are worried about the possible lockdown and the closure of crucial Customs office in China like before. The trading is still open for now. Yet, the temporary trade suspension will harm the traders a lot during the meantime, the traders stressed. Myanmar exports agricultural products, including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, etc. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through Muse-Ruili border. The raw CMP materials, electrical appliance and consumer goods are imported into the country.
Source- The Global New light of Myanmar