Mang Wein border checkpoint remains closed even after one year

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The Sino-Myanmar border trade zone.

It has been a year since the closure of the Mang Wein checkpoint in the wake of the COVID -19 pandemic and it still cannot be reopened, Muse traders stressed.
China has restricted border access through the Muse-Mang Wein trading post, which is a major border crossing between Myanmar and China amid the COVID-19 cases, since 30 March 2021. It is rumoured to be reopened in late March, a rice trader said.
“We heard the news of the reopening of the border post. However, we cannot say for sure. They usually notify us only two days in advance. There is no official letter released yet,” U Min Thein, vice-chair of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre was quoted as saying.
The officials from both sides have been conducting a series of negotiations to reopen the border post, he added.
Major export items via Mang Wein crossing various beans and pulses, rice and broken rice, fishery products, onion, chilli and fruits have to be exported through Kyinsankyawt post at the moment.
China banned Myanmar trucks and drivers to enter its side because of the COVID-19 protocols and allowed only Chinese short-haul drivers to transport the goods. There causes the problem of delays and bulk supply owing to the lack of Chinese short-haul truckers, promoting the operators to charge the transportation rate to an exorbitant high.
As a result of this, the cost of Chinese short-haul trucking tremendously rose to K10 million per truck, whereas the trucking was worth only K700,000-800,000 when Myanmar truckers were allowed to enter China, U Min Thein continued.
Following the detection of the COVID-19 cases in recent days, the short-haul drivers were isolated for two days and the disinfecting activities were carried out. The China-Myanmar cross-border Kyinsankyawt post was temporarily shut down between 2 and 12 March 2022.
China shut down all the checkpoints linking to the Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including Nantaw, Sinphyu, Mang Wein (Kyalgaung), Kyinsankyawt-Wan Ding and Pangsai- Wan Ding. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed trading activity from 26 November on a trial run.
Myanmar exports agricultural products including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, etc. 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.
Muse border post witnessed $4.057 billion worth of Sino-Myanmar border trade last financial year2020-2021, including exports worth $2.9 billion and imports worth $1.15 billion.
During the first wave of the COVID-19, the driver-substitution system was practised in border areas, which helps lessen the impediments to the trade, yet the current restriction exacerbates the border trade, Muse Rice Wholesale Centre stated.
According to the Ministry of Commerce’s trading statistics, there are five border posts between Myanmar and China; Muse, Lweje, Chinshwehaw, Kanpiketee and Kengtung. Of them, Muse performed the largest trade. — NN/GNLM

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