Muse border trade drastically plummets to $500 mln as of 11 Feb

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The value of cross-border trade between Myanmar and China via a major trading hub Muse border post plunged to US$500 million as of 11 February 2022 of the current mini-budget period (October 2021- March 2022), Myanmar Customs Department’s statistics indicated.
The figure significantly dropped from $2.245 billion recorded in the corresponding period of last Financial Year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Between 1 October 2021 and 4 February 2022, Myanmar’s exports to China through the Muse land border were valued at $478 million, while imports are worth $22 million. The trade showed a slump in both exports and imports against the year-ago period.
At present, the traders are anticipated for the resumption of the Kyalgaung post which performed the largest trade volume between Myanmar and China in the previous years. The post has been shut down since March 2021. The COVID-19 preventive measures have been taken at the post and Kyalgaung is rumoured to be reopened in mid-March or late March, a trader engaged in Kyalgaung quoted in his sayings.
China shut down all the checkpoints linking to the Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The checkpoints next to the Muse border are Nantaw, Sinphyu, Mang Wein (Kyalgaung), Kyinsankyawt-Wang Ding and Panseng-Wang Ding. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed the trading activity from 26 November on a trial run. Myanmar daily delivers rubber, various beans and pulses, dried plum, watermelon, muskmelon and other food commodities to China through Kyinsankyawt with the use of a Chinese short-haul trucking service.
“Myanmar trucks are restricted to enter China side. However, there is a shortage of Chinese truck drivers. At present, the traders are offering a competitive price for their goods, forcing Chinese drivers to manipulate the pricing. Only Chinese drivers and operators can take advantage of this case. Myanmar truckers cannot help doing it,” U Min Thein, the vice-chairman of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre, stressed.
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. Only when China eases the restriction can the trucking rate drop, he stated.
Additionally, China’s new Customs regulation and mandatory quarantine process posed some hurdles in the border market. Traders cannot expect trade facilitation according to the changes in China’s policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
The Muse border post witnessed $4.057 billion worth of the Sino-Myanmar border trade last financial year 2020-2021, including exports worth $2.9 billion and imports worth $1.15 billion. — KK/GNLM

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