Myanmar-Thailand trade tops $20 bln in past 4 years

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Trucks seen at the trade zone at Myawady border post.  Photo : Phoe Khwar

The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with neighbouring country Thailand in maritime trade and border trade was estimated at US$18.865 billion in the past four financial years, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The ministry reported that exports surpassed imports in trade with Thailand in the past four years, with exports reaching over $10.731 billion and imports valued at over $8.13 billion. Between 2016-2017FY and 2019-2020 (as of August), Thailand has been Myanmar’s largest trade partner among the ASEAN states, followed by Singapore and Malaysia.
Thailand accounted for 14.45 pc of total trade in 2016-2017FY with an estimated trade value of US$4.6 billion, 15.54 pc in 2017-2018FY with a trade value of $5.57 billion, 15.55 pc in 2018-2019FY with $5.46 billion and 13.92 pc in 2019-2020FY (Oct-April) with $3.15 billion respectively.
Exports of natural gas from Taninthayi Region has contributed to the enormous increase in border trade with Thailand in the previous year. This year, corn exports to Thailand rose significantly compared with the earlier years, the Ministry of Commerce stated. Myanmar primarily exports natural gas, fishery products, coal, tin concentrate (SN 71.58 per cent), coconut (fresh and dry), beans, corns, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, garment, footwear, plywood and veneer, broken rice and other commodities to Thailand. It imports capital goods such as machinery, raw industrial goods such as cement and fertilizers, and consumer goods such as cosmetics, edible vegetable oil and food products from the neighbouring country.
Myanmar is carrying out border trade with the neighbouring country Thailand through Tachilek, Myawady, Myeik, Mawtaung, Hteekhee, Kawthoung and Maese border areas respectively. Among them, Hteekhee performed the most extensive trade in border trade with Thailand, followed by Myawady. Nevertheless, the surge in coronavirus cases in Myanmar led Thailand to close the border areas. Consequently, the trade via land border sharply fell in the current FY 2020-2021.
Apart from its leading trade partner China, Myanmar’s external trade was mostly carried out with the regional trade partners. Trade with countries in the European Union, however, remained uncompetitive, compared with regional trade partners. – Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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