External trade tops $153 bln in incumbent government period

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A cargo ship carrying containers is docked at a port in Yangon on 23 June 2020. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Myanmar’s external trade over the past four years under the incumbent government has touched a high of US$153 billion, comprising exports worth $70.4 billion and imports valued $82.8 billion, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce.
Between the financial year 2016-2017 and FY2019-2020, the maritime trade has outperformed the border trade. Myanmar’s average trade was estimated at $111.7 billion, while its border trade with the neighbouring countries — China, Thailand, Bangladesh, India and Laos stood at $41.6 billion.
Myanmar’s foreign trade has shown a 10-per-cent increase, year over year, under the incumbent government.
The values of foreign trade were registered at $29 billion in the FY2016-2017, $33.57 billion in the FY2017-2018, $18.7 billion in the 2018 mini-budget period, $35 billion in the FY2018-2019 and $36.6 bln in the FY2019-2020, the ministry’s data showed.
The country has managed to generate $17.6 billion from exports and $19 billion from imports amid the COVID-19 crisis last FY.
The Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce has issued US$6.8 billion worth 19,996 import/export licences through an online platform in the past four months (April-August), to ensure smooth trade amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Commerce stated.
Under the National Planning Law for the FY2020-2021, Myanmar intends to reach an export target at US$16 billion and import at $18 billion.
Myanmar exports agricultural products, animal products, minerals, forest products, and finished industrial goods, while it imports capital goods, raw industrial materials, and consumer goods.
Myanmar’s top export countries are China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, the US, India, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Spain and the UK. In contrast, it primarily imports from China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Viet Nam, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US, as per data of the Ministry of Commerce.
The country’s export sector relies more on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The Ministry of Commerce is endeavouring to boost export under the World Trade Organization’s rules, enhance value-added production and competitiveness, reduce export barriers and provide trade financing services. The government is trying to reduce the trade deficit by screening luxury import items and boosting exports. The country mainly imports essential goods, construction materials, capital goods, hygienic material and supporting products for export promotion and the import substitution.
Myanmar trade deficit has registered at $5.2 billion in the FY2016-2017FY, $3.8 billion in the FY2017-2018, over $1 billion in the mini-budget period (April-September, 2018), $1.02 billion in the FY2018-2019 and $1.37 billion in the FY2019-2020, according to statistics released by the Central Statistical Organization.
The Ministry of Commerce has adhered to its policy reform depending on the requirements of the State and people. Moreover, a series of trade liberalization and openness for policy development have been introduced for enhancing a more viable trade environment. The ministry has also adopted e-Trade such as online licensing system, Country of Origin online application and launching Myanmar Trade net > www.myantrade.gov.mm to update the real-time trade info and strengthen Myanmar’s economy in the post-coronavirus era. The private sector plays a prominent role in Myanmar’s market-oriented economic system. The ministry is highlighting free and fair trade, ensuring product safety and quality goods and services. — Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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