Trade conducted by Individual Trading Card (ITC) holders reached over K18.3 billion through the land border in the past eight months of the current financial year 2020-2021, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. The Trade Department issued 149 cards in Oct-May period this FY. Imports exceeded over K15 billion, whereas exports were valued at just K3.29 billion. The Myawady border trade zone recorded the highest trade value at K11 billion, according to the Commerce Ministry. Nevertheless, the figure only reflected imports as individual trading card holders did not export goods through the Myawady gate. The value of trade engaged by individual trade card holders stood at K144 million at Tamu post, K116 million at Tachilek, K1.6 billion at Kawthoung, K5.3 billion at Mawtaung and K31 million at Kengtung, as per data from the Commerce Ministry.
At present, individual traders are no longer permitted to import the soap, detergent powder and toothpaste through border trade route with the Individual Trading Card (IRC) starting from 4 June 2020, with a view to safeguarding the interests of local SMEs and helping them survive in a highly competitive market. Nevertheless, the restriction does not impact on the regular traders with import/export licence. Additionally, Myanmar’s Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce notified that four food commodities are to be temporarily restricted for import via Myanmar-Thailand border starting from 1 May, Myawady Trade Zone reported.
The restricted items include various beverages, coffee mix and tea mix, instant coffee, and condensed milk and evaporated milk. However, they can be imported through maritime trade. Individual trades topped K737 million in the period from 21 November 2012 to 31 March 2013; exceeded K6.6 billion in the FY 2013-2014; reached K9.37 billion in the FY 2014-2015; stood at over K6.4 billion in the FY 2015-2016; rose above K18.5 billion in the FY 2016-2017; touched K45.9 billion in the FY 2017-2018; K22.5 billion during the 2018 mini-budget period (April-September); K59 billion in the FY 2018-2019 and drastically plunged to K43.32 billion in the FY 2019-2020.
The individual traders who cannot establish their own company can carry out trading with the ITC in the border area. However, trading volume is limited. The card validity is set only one year and the card holders need to renew the cards at the respective border gates one month before expiry date. Trading with the use of ITC is based on local currency. Hundreds of exports and imports items have been allowed for individual trading via the border gates. The traders can seek the ITC at the offices of Tamu, Muse, Myawady, Tachilek, Lwejel, Sittway, Maungtaw, Chinshwehaw, Kanpiketee, Myeik, Kawthoung, Reed, Thantlang, Mawtaung, Htikhee, Kenglek, Meisei and export/import offices in Mandalay, Kengtung and Myitkyina. Businessmen can trade goods worth K3 million per day using ITCs, and the Trade Department has permitted trade of up to K15 million per day over five days.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar