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Sino-Myanmar border trade up despite political changes: MOC reports

Sino-Myanmar border trade has registered a rise of US$227.37 million between 1 October and 5 March in the current financial year 2020-2021 amid the political changes, according to the Ministry of Commerce. As of 5 March 2021, Myanmar’s exports to China through the land border were valued at $1.9 billion, while imports are worth $897.8 million. The value of Sino-Myanmar border trade via all five border posts touched over $2.89 billion in the current FY, which significantly soared from over $2.66 billion recorded in the year-ago period, indicated the Ministry of Commerce’s data. The increase in trade is attributed to the extending trading hours at Muse-Man Wein and Kyinsankyawt checkpoints. Furthermore, Pan Hseng (Kyukok) and Wan Ding border posts also gave the green light to fruit trucks under the driver substitution system.

This FY, border trade values totalled $2.28 billion through the Muse border, $123.3 million via Lweje, $274.936 million via Chinshwehaw, $204.8 million via Kampaiti, and over $5 million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a rise in trade value through all those border posts. Muse is an essential border in Myanmar and handles an enormous volume of trade. But at times, it has experienced a sharp drop in trade on account of China clamping down on illegal goods, resulting in a halt in the trade of agricultural products. Moreover, the COVID-19 impacts slow the trade last year. In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus on the border, China banned border crossing. Shortly after that, about 50 drivers are allowed to pass the crossing under the driver substitution system. Those drivers are, however, tested every three days.

As a result of this, China included them in the vaccination programme, covering more than 40 Myanmar truck drivers, vice-chair of Muse rice wholesale centre said. In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the related departments and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with China counterparts. The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. Myanmar’s MOC is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through negotiations. Myanmar exports agricultural products, including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, and others. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through the Muse-Ruili border. The raw CMP materials, electrical appliance and consumer goods are imported into the country.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar-Thailand border trade down by $452 mln as of 5 March

The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with the neighbouring country Thailand through the land border has registered a decrease of US$452 million between 1 October and 5 March of the current financial year 2020-2021 as against a year-ago period, the Ministry of Commerce-issued statistics indicated. The ministry reported exports surpassed imports in trade with Thailand this year, with exports reaching over $985.6 million and imports valued at over $454 million, totalling $1.4 billion. During the corresponding period of the past FY2019-2020, Myanmar-Thailand border trade touched a high of $1.89 billion. Following some traders tested positive for COVID-19, some border posts were temporarily halted last year.

At present, fruits and agricultural products such as cucumber, mango, tomato and vegetable, fishery products, building materials and other pharmaceutical-related goods and equipment can be traded. Myanmar-Thailand friendship bridge No. 2 is also open for trading. The halt in trading undoubtedly harmed the traders and truck drivers from both sides, said a trader from Myawady. During the last budget year, Myanmar has increasingly exported corns to Thailand through the Myawady border. Myanmar’s corn exports to Thailand significantly soared to over 1.2 million tonnes through border posts between Myanmar and Thailand during October and May period in the FY2019-2020, an official of the Ministry of Commerce said.

At present, Myanmar exports the corn to Thailand through Myawady and Tachilek land borders. About 5,000-6,000 tonnes of corn are daily sent to Thailand through Myawady, while the Tachilek border does not regularly export. Myanmar is allowed for corn export between 1 February and 31 August with Form-D, under zero tariff. Thailand imposed 73 per cent of tax on corn import to protect their growers’ rights if the corns are imported during the corn season of Thailand as per the World Trade Organization notification regarding corn import of Thailand, said a corn exporter.

Myanmar intends to reach an export target of one million tonnes of corns to Thailand this year, said U Min Khaing, chair of the Myanmar Corn Industrial Association. Additionally, exports of natural gas from the Taninthayi Region has contributed to the enormous increase in border trade with Thailand in the previous years. This year, gas exports via the Hteekhee border drastically fell. There are seven border posts between Myanmar and Thailand, Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Htikhee, Myeik, Mawtaung and Maese.

Except for Tachilek and Myawady, the remaining border posts showed a decrease in the trade this FY. The value of border trade stood at $159.27 million via Tachilek, $549.48 million via Myawady, $159.8 million via Kawthoung, $62.565 million via Myeik, $501.97 million via Hteekhee and $6.9 million via Mawtaung. Maese border post has not witnessed any trade yet. Myanmar primarily exports natural gas, fishery products, coal, tin concentrate (SN 71.58 per cent), coconut (fresh and dry), beans, and bamboo shoots to Thailand. It imports capital goods such as machinery, raw industrial goods such as cement and fertilizers, consumer goods such as cosmetics and food products from the neighbouring country. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar