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Sino-Myanmar border trade down by 17% amid COVID surge: MOC reports

As the COVID-19 infections are spiking in Myanmar, China has shut down all the border posts since 8 July. Consequently, the border trade plunges by 17 per cent against last year, as per the Ministry of Commerce’s data. Sino-Myanmar border trade was registered a low of US$3.85 billion between 1 October and 2 July in the current financial year 2020-2021 amid the political instability and the COVID-19 surging. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the figures plummeted from $4.63 billion recorded in the year-ago period. As of 2 July 2021, Myanmar’s exports to China through land border were valued at $2.6 billion, while imports are worth $1.2 billion.

The Sino-Myanmar border trade showed a slump in both exports and imports. On 30 March, Man Wein, which is a major border crossing between Muse and Kyalgaung areas, was suspended owing to the COVID-19 cases. The traders have to send goods, including rice and broken rice, various pulses and beans, fishery products, onion, chilli and other export items to China via the Kyinsankyawt checkpoint due to the closure of the Man Wein checkpoint. Following up on the COVID-19 detection of the staff from Muse 105th mile trade zone, China closed down all the border posts. Wan Ding, Kyinsankyawt and Pan Hseng (Kyukoke) border posts came to an abrupt halt on 8 July.

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus on the border, China banned border crossing, causing the price hike for the agricultural input, cement and medical devices. This FY, border trade values totalled $2.948 billion through Muse border, $206.9 million via Lweje, $424.6 million via Chinshwehaw, $267.6 million via Kampaiti, and over $10 million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a drastic drop in the Muse border. Earlier, China practised a driver substitution programme, and those drivers were tested every three days. Myanmar exports agricultural products including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, and others. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through the Muse-Ruili border. The raw CMP materials, electrical appliances and consumer goods are imported into the country.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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