MoC reports: trade deficit shrinks to $235.76 mln as of 5 March

Myanmar’s trade gap has significantly narrowed to US$235.76 million in the financial year 2020-2021 from just $926.57 million registered in the corresponding period of the 2019-2020FY, according to data provided by the Ministry of Commerce.
Between 1 October and 5 March in the current FY, Myanmar’s external trade drastically plunged to $13.548 billion from $17.226 billion recorded in the year-ago period.
While exports were estimated at $6.65 billion, imports were valued at $6.89 billion this FY. Compared to the FY2019-2020, exports showed a drop of over $1.49 billion, while imports fell by $2.18 billion.
Myanmar witnessed a slump in exports triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, the country cannot hold jade emporiums last year. As a result of this, export income plummeted, according to Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.
Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts and political changes. The neighbouring countries tightened border security and limited trading time to contain the virus’s spread. Pandemic-induced container shortage pushed up the freight rates to almost triple in Myanmar, causing delays for traders.
At present, some ocean liners suspended cargo transport from Myanmar in recent days. The cargo transport will double or triple if we conduct the trade with small ships. It could harm the export sector somehow, according to Myanmar Mercantile Marine Development Association.
“The closure of private banks and the current political instability wreaks havoc on trade,” an exporter stressed.
Myanmar exports agricultural products, animal products, minerals, forest products, and finished industrial goods. At the same time, it imports capital goods, raw industrial materials, and consumer goods.
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 import substitution.
Myanmar’s trade deficit was pegged at $1.3 billion in the 2019-2020FY, $1.14 billion in the 2018-2019 FY, $1.3 billion in the previous mini-budget period (April-September, 2018), $3.9 billion in the 2017-2018FY, $5.3 billion in the 2016-2017FY, and $5.4 billion in the 2015-2016FY, according to statistics released by the Central Statistical Organization.
Under the National Planning Law for the Financial Year 2020-2021, Myanmar intends to reach an export target of US$16 billion and import at $18 billion.
The Ministry of Commerce has adhered to its policy reform depending on the State and people’s requirements. Moreover, a series of trade liberalization and openness for policy development have been introduced for enhancing a more viable trade environment. 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. — HH/GNLM

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