Preparations are under way to export 10,000 tons of the total rice stockpiled at the Muse gate to China, said U Min Thein, the vice chair of the Muse rice depot.
The move follows discussions between China and Myanmar businesses, during which, they agreed upon the export of rice to China through the legal trade channel.
“Even though businessmen from the two countries have reached an agreement on exporting 10,000 tons of rice (or, 200,000 bags of rice), the price is K3,000-4,000 lower than the prevailing market rate for a bag of rice. At present, those rice varieties are priced above K20,000 per bag,” said U Min Thein.
“We are facing trading losses, but we can’t help selling the rice at a reduced rate as it has been sitting at the Muse gate. We are looking at a loss of K3,000-4,000 per bag,” he added.
Traders are selling at a loss to deal with the rice pile-up at the Muse gate, according to the Muse depot.
“As rice from Muse will flow into China legally under a mutual trade agreement between China and Myanmar companies, more legitimate channels will hopefully open up in future. However, we are not happy with the current price gap,” said U Than Oo, secretary, Bayintnaung rice depot.
Myanmar primarily exports rice to China through the border gates. However, trade in agricultural products has been halted on account of China clamping down on illegal trade. Therefore, Myanmar could export just 500,000 tons of rice to China in the first eight months (Oct-May) of the current fiscal year, which is half the volume registered in the year-ago period.
During the State Counsellor’s visit to Beijing for the second OBOR forum in April, the two governments agreed on Myanmar shipping 100,000 tons of rice through the maritime route to China under a government-to-government (G-to-G) agreement.
Export of rice under the G2G pact is slated for October this year, said U Aung Htoo, the Deputy Minister for Commerce.
By Nyein Nyein
(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)