Myanmar’s border trade with China saw a decrease of US$ 188 million between 1 October last year and late August this current financial year, according to the statistics from the Ministry of Commerce. The border trade between Myanmar and China through five border checkpoints was over US$5.26 billion in the current budget year, which plunged from US$5.45 billion recorded in the corresponding period of last year, the ministry’s figures showed.
The border trade between Myanmar and China reached US$4.35 billion through Muse, US$128.6 million via Lwejel, US$491.83 million via Chinshwehaw, US$279.86 million via Kampaiti, and over US$ 4.94 million via Kengtung. The ministry’s data showed a slight drop in trade value via all border trade camps between Myanmar and China, except Chinshwehaw. A large portion of Myanmar’s overland trade with China goes through Muse border. China has been stepping up border control measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus infection. Due to an import ban on rice, sugar and maize, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the border trade volume between Myanmar and China has been declined when compared to previous years.
The transport delays caused damage to the quality of the goods and doubled the truck fares and the growers and traders are suffering huge financial losses amid the virus. In an effort to promote bilateral trade between Myanmar and China, the two countries have been organizing trade exhibitions, seminars and workshops on a rotating basis. The two countries are making concerted efforts to create more border economic zones and boost border trade. Myanmar is trying to increase exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through diplomatic negotiations. After a series of talks between the two governments, China gave the nods to 43 Myanmar companies on July 10 to transport the rice to the East Asian country through a legitimate trade channel.
China is the major rice export market for Myanmar. Myanmar mainly exports beans and pulses, sesame, maize, rubber, and marine products to China while pesticides, fertilizers, household items, and foodstuff are imported into the country through Muse border trade camp. Border trade between Myanmar and China has seen a significant growth over the past couple of years. Bilateral trade volume between the two neighbours through the border checkpoints is around US$490 million per month. Myanmar mainly imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from China. The two neighbours are eager to promote bilateral trade through the establishment of business centres on both sides.
China is the largest trading partner as well as one of the most important sources of investment for Myanmar. China’s investment in Myanmar from 1988 to date was worth nearly US$21 billion which is equivalent to about 25 per cent of total FDI in the country. Singapore topped the list of foreign investors in Myanmar during the period from October last year to early September this year, and followed by China and Thailand. The largest sector of China’s investment flowed to electricity generation sector, accounting for 63 per cent, followed by the oil and gas, and mining sectors with 36 per cent and the other sector with 1 per cent.
The border trade between Myanmar and China was US$5.936 billion in the financial year 2015-2016, amounted to US$5.967 billion in the financial year 2016-2017, declined to US$4.7 billion in the financial year 2017-2018, and was recorded US$ 2.5 billion during the six month interim period prior to the next financial year 2018-2019. Myanmar’s bilateral trade with China was US$10.9 billion in 2015-16 FY, US$10.8 billion in 2016-2017 FY, US$11.78 billion in 2017-2018 FY, and US$11.36 billion in 2018-2019 FY.