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

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