Explore other export markets to offset declining trade with China


The coronavirus outbreak has negatively affected Myanmar’s border trade with China and reduced revenue from tax.
With border exports to China spiraling downward, the stakeholders in the production chain (mainly in case of perishable goods) are struggling to cope financially.
Since the outbreak, imports of raw materials have dropped. With stocks running out, manufacturers are concerned about the availability of raw materials.
Myanmar mainly exports rice, fish, timber, beans, sesame, clothing, aquatic products, rubber, minerals, and other goods to China through four border gates each in Muse, northern Shan State, Chinshwehaw in northeastern Shan State, and Lwejel and Kanpikete in Kachin State. Of them, the Muse border gate is the largest trade zone between the two neighbors.
Myanmar imports machines, machine parts, electrical devices, electronic gadgets, chemicals, fertilizers, medicines, dairy products, and other items from China.
It is not feasible to set a timeframe for when the outbreak would be brought under control. Hence, it is important for the government, employers, and employees as well as trade experts to work together to deal with the current situation.
One option to remedy the current situation would be making efforts to penetrate other potential markets and observing the market situation in other neighboring countries.
Local authorities in regions and states must undertake surveys to determine the damage to the local economy and hold discussions with traders and local organizations to explore ways to recover from possible losses.
Growers are uncertain about the market and they are concerned about the decay of fruits. Still, there is no trade possibility with China’s border market.
Hence, making arrangements to help growers and producers sell products they normally export to China in local markets is a possible short-term solution.
To promote the trade of local products, regional governments must establish depots and crops zones in their areas, while encouraging the Eprivate sector.
The most important thing is that growers and producers of perishable products should delay harvest as far as they can and stay in touch with the trade authorities in border areas to obtain correct information.

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