Sino-Myanmar border trade has registered a decrease of US$211.47 million between 1 October and 5 June in the current fiscal year 2019-2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed the value of Sino-Myanmar border trade at all five borders touched $4.082 billion in the current fiscal, which significantly plunged from $4.29 billion recorded in the year-ago period.
This FY, border trade values totalled $3.36 billion at Muse, $115 million at Lwejel, $351.6 million at Chinshwehaw, $243.9 million at Kampaiti, and over $4.09 million at Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a drop in trade value at all those borders. The decline in trade is attributed to the trade suspension and trade delay due to the tight security measures of the coronavirus pandemic.
At present, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the viral disease. Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar borders in light of the pandemic fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods.
Next, the export of agricultural products 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. Therefore, rice confiscation and price manipulation are often happening at the border.
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.
The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade.
Myanmar exports rice, sugar, pulses, sesame seeds, corn, dried tea leaves, fishery products, minerals, and animal products to China, while it imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from the neighbouring country. — Htet Myat (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)