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Trade documentation, payments in Myanmar to be completed online

Myanmar will launch an online portal that will enable all paperwork and payments to be done digitally to facilitate trade in November. Administrative procedures such as applications and payments for export and import permits can be done online on the Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 portal, while the documents can also be issued digitally. These procedures had all beem done manually at the Department of Trade in the past.

Foreign countries are already using TradeNet 4.0. In Myanmar, they are just moving to Tradenet 2.0. They have to keep pace with their trading partners and this is also very helpful in reducing physical contact during the COVID-29 period. Myanmar can expect trade to raise once the online system is in place. In Tradenet 2.0 they have amended some of the existing policies in applying for and renewing export/import licenses. By going online, trades will no longer need to submit recommendations from the various departments, including the Department of Agriculture, Livestock Breeding & Veterinary Department and Food and Drug Administration, to the Department of Trade.

As all the documents can be accessed on the system, traders will not need to visit all the departments to obtain the required documentation for the process. All traders should update their details online before October 25. After that deadline, accounts with incomplete data will be removed from the system. The ministry will strive to launch Tradenet 2.0 in time despite the lack of staff working in the office during COVID-19.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Myanmar agricultural exports increase in 2019-2020 FY

Myanmar’s exports of farm products remarkably soared to US$3.69 billion between 1 October 2019 and 25 September 2020 in the 2019-2020 financial year from $3.2 billion in the corresponding period of the 2017-2018FY, according to the trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce.

During the last FY2019-2020, the agro-export figures reflect an increase of $474 million against a-year ago period. Myanmar’s agricultural exports rose regardless of the impact of the coronavirus on foreign demand. In the exports sector, the agricultural industry performed the best, accounting for 22 per cent of overall exports. The chief items of export in the agricultural industry are rice and broken rice, pulses and beans and maize. Fruits and vegetables, sesame, dried tea leaves, sugar, and other agro products are also shipped to other countries.

More than 100,000 acres of monsoon paddy have been cultivated under the contract farming system this year, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). The Commerce Ministry is working to help farmers deal with challenges such as high input costs, procurement of pedigree seeds, high cultivation costs, and unpredictable weather conditions. In a bid to remedy the businesses stricken by the COVID-19, the government also provided the agricultural loan of K150,000 per acre of paddy.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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External trade exceeds $36 bln as of 25 September

Myanmar’s external trade between 1 October and 25 September in the 2019-2020 financial year touched a high of US$36.2 billion, an increase of $1.889 billion compared with the corresponding period of the 2018-2019FY, according to the Ministry of Commerce. During the same period in the previous FY, trade stood at $34.3 billion, according to data released by the ministry. Myanmar’s foreign trade has shown a 10-per-cent increase, year over year, under the incumbent government.

Myanmar has already reached total trade value target of $34 billion for the current FY, said an official from the ministry. In the current FY, both maritime and border trade recorded an increase compared with the year-ago period, with exports estimated at over $17.37 billion and imports valued at $18.8 billion. The government is trying to reduce the trade deficit by screening luxury import items and boosting exports. The Ministry of Commerce is endeavoring to boost export, enhance value-added production, reduce export barriers and provide trade financing services.

Under the National Planning Law for the Financial Year 2020-2021, Myanmar intends to reach the export target at US$16 billion and import at $18 billion. Myanmar’s external trade between FY2016-2017 and FY2019-2020 (as of 21 August) under the incumbent government period touched a high of US$149.67 billion, comprising exports worth $68.53 billion and imports valued $811 billion, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Fishery exports soar to over $847 mln in 2019-2020FY

Export earnings from the fisheries sector during the period between 1 October and 25 September in the financial year 2019-2020 reached US$847.5 million, an increase of $125.65 million from the year-ago period. The figures stood at just $721.865 million during a-year ago period. During the current financial year, the fishery exports are expected to reach a record high. Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) expected to earn more than $800 million from fishery exports in the FY2019-2020, and it got a target. Myanmar exports fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, to markets in 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and countries in the European Union. Myanmar’s fishery exports have slightly declined over the past three months, owing to the COVID-19 impacts. However, Myanmar witnessed a large volume of exports in the post-pandemic period.

The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farming lakes which meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques. To ensure food safety, the foreign market requires suppliers to obtain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates. The MFF is working with fish farmers, processors, and the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation to develop the GAqP system. Myanmar exported 340,000 tonnes of fishery products worth $530 million in the 2013-2014FY, 330,000 tonnes worth $480 million in the 2014-2015FY, 360,000 tonnes worth $500 million in the 2015-2016FY, 430,000 tonnes worth $600 million in the 2016-2017FY, 560,000 tonnes worth $700 million in the 2017-2018FY, and over 580,000 tonnes in the 2018-2019FY.

Myanmar’s economy is more dependent on the agricultural sector to a large extent. Also, the fisheries sector contributes a lot to the national gross domestic product (GDP). Its fishery production, including shrimps and saltwater and freshwater fish, is far better than the regional countries. If the state can boost processing technology, it will contribute to the country’s economy and earn more income for those stakeholders in the supply chain, Yangon Region Fisheries Department stated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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YSX trade volume drops to lowest in September

The volume of shares traded on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) in September sank to the lowest level of 85,237 shares, yet the value slightly rose to K838.6 million against August’s rate due to the increase in share prices, according to YSX’s monthly report. The trading volume last month plunged from 118,850 shares registered in August, the statistics indicated. The stock markets worldwide have reported their largest declines since the 2008 financial crisis. Similarly, the local equities market is also scared by the COVID-19 crash, a market observer points out.

In January 2020, 196,836 shares worth K1.25 billion were traded on the exchange while 188,919 shares, with estimated value of K1.48 billion were traded on the business in February and 228,913 shares valued K1.42 billion were traded in March respectively. It touched the lowest of K902 million with 173,808 shares in April. It rose to K1.2 billion with 200,416 shares being traded in May. The share volumes traded on the exchange surged to 221,682 in June, with estimated value K1.3 billion and then, it fell to $1 billion with 125,137 shares in July. Next, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) allowed foreigners to invest in the local equity market in March 2020. Foreigners have held 53,850 shares in the equity market as of 2 October. In September, the share prices of the listed companies on the exchange, except EFR, also showed an increase compared with August’s prices. The share prices of FMI were closed at K10,000 per unit, MTSH at K3,700, MCB at K8,000, FPB at K22,5000, TMH at K2,700 and EFR at K3,000 respectively.

The YSX was launched three years ago to improve the private business sector. It disseminates rules and regulations regarding the stock exchange and knowledge of share trading through stock investment seminars. To boost the trading, the YSX had doubled its stock trade matching time from two to four per day last year. The exchange launched seven times matching per day on 26 March 2020. Since 2017, it has held promotional events to attract new investors and encourage existing investors to trade more actively. The stock exchange has also sought the government’s support to get more public companies to participate in the stock market and help more institutional investors, such as financing companies, investment banks, and insurance companies, to emerge. A total of 2.4 million shares worth K13.39 billion were traded on the YSX in 2019, a significant increase compared to the previous year, according to the annual report released by the exchange. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Border trade restrictions lifted between Myanmar, Thailand

Trade at the Myanmar-Thai border has resumed after a two-week standstill. After 12 days of only following six vehicles to travel between Tachilieik, Shan State, and Mae Sai in Thailand as part of restrictions to contain COVID-19, both sides agreed on September 30 to resume trading as usual. Due to the pandemic, there will be a reshuffle of drivers and vehicles when passing between Myanmar and Thailand but there will no longer be other restrictions on the trucks from both sides.

Trade at Tachileik, the border town between Myanmar and Thailand, had come to a standstill after Thai authorities on September 17 imposed restrictions allowing just six vehicles from Myanmar to enter the Mae Sai trade post in Thailand. Myanmar drivers, who were also prohibited from passing though, had to switch places with Thai drivers at the border. The Thais had prohibited Myanmar drivers from entering through the border after cases began rising in Myanmar but neglected to discuss the restrictions with their Myanmar counterparts. The Myanmar side then reciprocated with similar measures, forcing Thai vehicles to register in Myanmar to transport goods.

Without any imports from Myanmar, Thai traders are estimated to have incurred up to THB1 billion in losses from September 17 to 29. Both sides have agreed to make bilateral discussions whenever there are cases at border areas involving public interests. The driver shuffle system will still be in place when using Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No.2 and trucks will commute between trade posts as usual. Small traders will also be eligible to travel on the No.2 Bridge with small vehicles without limitations.

Source: Myanmar Times

Rice and broken rice were exported more than 2.5 million tonnes

Myanmar is expected to export 2.5 million tonnes of rice and paddy in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, and more than 2.5 million tonnes of rice and paddy were exported more than 20 days before the end of the fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. In the 11 months from October 1 to September 11 of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 2.531 million tonnes of rice and broken rice were exported, earning $ 774.891 million. During that period, it exported 1.583 million tonnes of rice to 66 countries, earning $ 517.1858 million. It earned $ 257.733 million from exporting about 950,000 tonnes of broken rice to 60 countries.

In the current fiscal year 2019-2020, up to 2.5 million tonnes of rice and broken rice can be exported. The 2019-2020 fiscal year will end at the end of September, just days before the end of the fiscal year. By the end of the fiscal year, more than 2.5 million tonnes of rice and broken rice had been exported. Myanmar exports both rice and broken rice through both seaborne and cross-border trade. In the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, seaborne trade accounted for more than two million tonnes of rice and broken rice, accounting for 84% of total exports. Over 400,000 tonnes of rice and broken rice were exported from border trade points, earning more than $ 120 million, accounting for 16 percent of total exports. Of the 66 rice exporters, China is the largest exporter of more than 540,000 tonnes. Of the 60 countries that exported broken rice, Belgium was the largest exporter, with more than 240,000 tonnes.

According to the annual acreage and yield of paddy in Myanmar, in the 2014-2015 financial year, 17722355 acres (over 17 million) were planted and 264233319 tons (over 26 million) were produced. In the 2017-2018 financial year, 17930294 acres (over 17 million) of paddy fields were planted and the yield was 25624492 tons (over 25 million), which is the lowest year in the last four years. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, 17861055 acres (over 17 million) of paddy fields were planted and the yield was 27573589 tons (over 20 million), which is the highest paddy yield period in the five years from the 2014-2015 fiscal year to the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar-China trade exceeds $40 bln in incumbent government period

The value of Myanmar bilateral trade with the neighbouring country China through maritime trade and border trade has stood at an estimated amount of US$42.29 billion in the incumbent government period, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The ministry reported that the imports outperformed the exports in trade with China over the past four years, with exports reaching over $19.7 billion and imports valued at over $22.5 billion. Between 2016-2017FY and 2019-2020 (as of August), China has been Myanmar’s largest trade partner beyond the regional states. China accounted for 80.4 per cent of total trade in the FY2016-2017 with an estimated trade value of $6.28 billion, 78.8pc in the FY2017-2018 with a trade value of over $7.05 billion, 57.45pc in the FY2018-2019 with $5.9 billion and 58.7pc in the FY 2019-2020 (Oct-April) with $3.56 billion respectively.

Rice, various types of peas, sesame seeds, corn, fruits and vegetables, dried tea leaves, fishery products, rubber, gem and animal products are primarily exported to China. In contrast, machinery, plastic raw materials, CMP raw materials, consumer products and electronic tools flow into Myanmar. The border trade value ($22.8 bln) is relatively higher than the maritime trade value ($19.47 bln) in the bilateral trade between Myanmar and China. Myanmar mainly exports agricultural products to China through the border trade, which is often halted, on account of China clamping down on illegal goods. Myanmar merchants are facing difficulties in exporting goods to China through the legitimate channel as they find the tax levied by China is too high.

In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant departments and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with China counterparts. Illegal trade is highly witnessed between Myanmar and China borders in the previous years. This year, traders sent the goods via legitimate trade route, and trading volume sharply fell. The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through diplomatic negotiations. Myanmar is carrying out border trade with the neighboring country China through Muse, Lweje, Chinshwehaw, Kampaiti and Kengtung. Apart from its leading trade partner China, Myanmar is carrying out its external trade mostly with the regional trade partners. Trade with countries in the European Union, however, remained uncompetitive, compared with regional trade partners.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Natural gas exports top $2.97 bln in Oct-July

Myanmar’s exports of natural gas over the past ten months of the current financial year 2019-2020 amounted to US$2.97 billion, the Commerce Ministry’s data showed. The figures reflect a decrease of $264 million compared with the corresponding period of the 2018-2019FY when the gas export value was registered at $3.235 billion, the statistics released by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The drop in the value of exports is linked to the collapse of the global oil and natural gas prices, according to an expert. Natural gas is included in the list of major export items of Myanmar. About 10 per cent of the country’s total export earnings come from the sale of natural gas. There are 53 onshore blocks and 51 offshore blocks, totalling 104 blocks.

A total of 25 onshore blocks and 31 offshore blocks are operating under foreign investment. Natural gas extraction is being made at the Yadanar, the Ye Dagun, the Shwe, and the Zaw Tika offshore blocks as well as onshore drilling blocks. Yearly extraction is elevated to cubic feet in 670.36 billion from 600 billion this year, according to the fourth-year performance statement of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The Shwe natural gas field, located offshore from Rakhine State, was discovered in 2014. Natural gas extracted from the field is exported to China.

The Yadana natural gas project is being carried out by the TOTAL Company, with its pipeline supplying natural gas to Thailand. Natural gas is also extracted in Yedagon, located offshore from Taninthayi and discovered in 1992. The Zawtika Project in the Gulf of Mottama mainly supplies natural gas to neighbouring Thailand. Production at Yadana and Yedagon is declining, and those projects will be halted in the coming years. Myanmar’s exports of natural gas in the previous financial year totalled $3.88 billion, as per Commerce Ministry data.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar-Thailand trade reaches $18.86 bln in past 4 years

The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with neighbouring country Thailand in regular trading and border trade was estimated at US$18.865 billion in the past four financial years, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The ministry reported that exports surpassed imports in trade with Thailand in the past four years, with exports reaching over $10.73 billion and imports valued at over $8.13 billion. Between 2016-2017FY and 2019-2020 (as of August), Thailand has been Myanmar’s largest trade partner among the ASEAN states, followed by Singapore and Malaysia. Thailand accounted for 18.48 pc of total trade in 2016-2017FY with an estimated trade value of US$4.6 billion, 19.17 pc in 2017-2018FY with a trade value of $5.57 billion, 40.38pc in 2018-2019FY with $5.46 billion and 39.55pc in 2019-2020FY (Oct-April) with $3.15 billion respectively.

Exports of natural gas from Taninthayi Region has contributed to the enormous increase in border trade with Thailand in the previous year. This year, corn exports to Thailand rose significantly compared with the earlier years, the Ministry of Commerce stated. Myanmar primarily exports natural gas, fishery products, coal, tin concentrate (SN 71.58 per cent), coconut (fresh and dry), beans, corns, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, garment, footwear, plywood and veneer, broken rice and other commodities to Thailand. It imports capital goods such as machinery, raw industrial goods such as cement and fertilizers, and consumer goods such as cosmetics, edible vegetable oil and food products from the neighbouring country. The surge in coronavirus cases in Myanmar led Thailand to close its border area in Maesai recently.

Only six trucks are now allowed on Tachilek-Maesai bridge per day after negotiations of the two countries, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry released the news on 16 September 2020. Besides Tachilek, Myanmar is carrying out border trade with the neighbouring country Thailand through Myawady, Myeik, Mawtaung, Hteekhee, Kawthoung and Maese border areas respectively. Among them, Hteekhee performed the most extensive trade in border trade with Thailand, followed by Myawady. Apart from its leading trade partner China, Myanmar’s external trade was mostly carried out with the regional trade partners. Trade with countries in the European Union, however, remained uncompetitive, compared with regional trade partners.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar