Myanmar’s external trade between 1 October and 18 December in the current financial year 2020-2021 touched a low of US$6.14 billion, a sharp drop of $2.065 billion compared with the corresponding period of the FY2019-2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce. According to the ministry data during the same period in the previous FY, trade stood at $8.2 billion. As of 18 December 2020, Myanmar’s export was worth $2.87 billion, which plunged from $4.1 billion registered a year-ago period. Meanwhile, the country’s import was valued $3.27 billion, showing a decrease of $824 million compared with the last FY. Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts. The neighbouring countries tightened border security and limited the trading time to contain the spread of the virus.
Moreover, the severe container shortage has become the biggest disrupter in shipping amid the coronavirus impacts, on the back of robust demand on the Asia-Europe and transpacific trade. Container shipping costs are drastically surging. Pandemic-induced container shortage pushed up the freight rates to almost triple in Myanmar, causing delays for traders.
Myanmar exports agricultural products, animal products, minerals, forest products, and finished industrial goods. At the same time, it imports capital goods, raw industrial materials, and consumer goods. The country’s export sector relies more on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The government is trying to reduce the trade deficit by screening luxury import items and boosting exports.
Myanmar’s foreign trade has shown a 10-per-cent increase, year over year, under the incumbent government. Myanmar has already surpassed the total trade value target of $34 billion for the last FY, said an official from the ministry. Last FY2019-2020, Myanmar’s external trade reflected an increase of $1.5 billion compared with the FY2018-2019 as it increased from over $35 billion to $36.6 billion. Under the National Planning Law for the Financial Year 2020-2021, Myanmar intends to reach an export target at US$16 billion and import at $18 billion. The Ministry of Commerce is focusing on export promotion and market diversification. Since 2011, the Ministry of Commerce has adhered to its reform policy. A series of moves to liberalize and open the economy have been introduced through policy development to improve the trade environment.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar