Myanmar-China border trade drops by $188 mln as of 28 August

Phoe Khwar 0
Trucks seen at the 105-mile trade zone Muse, northern Shan State. Photo: Phoe Khwar

Myanmar border trade with China has registered a decrease of US$188 million between 1 October and 28 August in the current financial year 2019-2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce show the value of Myanmar-China border trade in all five border areas touched over $5.26 billion in the current financial year, which significantly plunged from over $5.45 billion recorded in the year-ago period.
This FY, border trade values totalled $4.35 billion through Muse border, $128.6 million via Lweje, $491.83 million via Chinshwehaw, $279.86 million via Kampaiti, and over $4.94 million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a drop in trade value through all those border areas between Myanmar and China, except Chinshwehaw.
The decline in trade is attributed to the trade suspension and trade delay amid the tight security measures of coronavirus. China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection.
Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar borders in light of pandemic fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods and causing long queue on border road. “Illegal trade is highly witnessed between Myanmar and China borders in the previous years. This year, traders sent the goods via legitimate trade route, and trading volume sharply fell,” said Vice President U Aung Than Oo Myanmar Rice Federation.
Additionally, Myanmar’s import surpassed export in bilateral trade with China.
Next, the export of agricultural products via border route is often halted, on account of China clamping down on illegal goods. Myanmar merchants are facing difficulties in exporting goods to China through the legitimate channel as they find the tax levied by China is too high.
In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant departments and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with China counterparts.
The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. Myanmar’s MOC is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through diplomatic negotiations. After a series of negotiation between Myanmar and China, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) granted licences to 43 Myanmar companies on 10 July 2020 to export the rice to China through a legitimate trade channel. Myanmar exports rice, sugar, pulses, sesame seeds, corn, dried tea leaves, fishery products, minerals, and animal products to China. At the same time, it imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from the neighbouring country. —GNLM (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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