Need to build strong trade with China, instead of seeking export quota: Yangon Chief Minister

By Nyein Nyein

To ship goods to China, Myanmar needs to build a strong trading system rather than an export quota, said Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein at the Private Sector Development Committee meeting, held on 8 December at the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Myanmar traders have to go to China to purchase goods, whereas China conducts trade with Myanmar only in the border areas, the Chief Minister said.
“They ask Myanmar traders to transport goods to border areas, but they do not promise to buy them for sure. If they do not like them, they do not make a deal. Also, they manipulate the price. Having said that, we need to create a firm trading system than quotas,” said U Phyo Min Thein.
Moreover, Myanmar’s traders have to meet distributors sometimes, and trading is mostly carried out by brokers, he said.
“Rather than a quota system, buyers should sign a trading agreement in Yangon and Mandalay markets to have firm trading,” he added.
“For example, local traders face losses when they send watermelons to border areas and China does not buy them. As fruits and vegetables can spoil, brokers and Chinese traders take advantage of the market,” the Chief Minister said.
“Additionally, packaging businesses are crucial in logistics. China always has food requirements. Therefore, representatives from their side have come to discuss with us,” he added.
The Chief Minister also asked the stakeholders in the whole supply chain, from farmers to traders, to make concerted efforts to develop trade.
At present, to promote exports, Myanmar is exploring new markets for agricultural crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation has already sent information on tissue-culture bananas, lime, pineapples, avocados, pomelos, elephant foot yams, sterculia gum (locally called Saekalamat), and cardamom (Ammomum Villosum) to China’s food safety inspection mechanism, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ), for legitimate export.
China has asked the Ministry to reply to questions on Pest Risk Analysis of cardamom and elephant foot yam as traditional trade items, sterculia gum as a food additive, and some fruits to AQSIQ, according to the Ministry of Commerce. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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