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