Performance Over Two Years by Ministry of Commerce

The ship carrying container rice to export at the port. Photo: MNA
The ship carrying container rice to export at the port. Photo: MNA

By July Moe (Myanma Alin)

Myanmar rice export broke 70 years old record.
Trading plays a vital role in the development of a country’s economy. As for the Ministry of Commerce, efforts are being made to transform the process of the implementation of the economic system. The following are some of the excerpts from the interview with Ministry for Commerce Dr. Than Myint.
Q : Could you let us know what the aims and objectives of the Ministry of Commerce are?
A : During the tenure of the new government, the state has laid down a 12-point-economic-policy which can foster the development of the country’s economy. In accordance with the state’s policy, the Ministry of Commerce has adopted 26 processes including Trade Promotion, Trade Facilitation, Trade Negotiation, Trade Liberalization, Trade Education and Consumer Protection, which can connect to other trading sectors.
Q : Could you elaborate more about trading process in Myanmar?
The main duty of the Ministry of Commerce is to boost the trading and develop the private sectors as well. It is important to increase the volume of foreign exports.
In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the volume of foreign export is US$ 29.20 billion and in the 2017-2018 fiscal year the volume of trade reached US$ 33.32 billion. The Ministry of Commerce has laid down National Export Strategy _ NES which can help the market expansion which is needed for the economy. During the period-of-two-year of the new government, the volume of trading has amounted to US$ 11.13 billion in the 2015-2016 fiscal year and it has increased US$12 billion (7 per cent). In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the volume of trading has become US$ 14 billion and it had increased US$ 2.68 billion (over 22 per cent) which broke the record. Moreover the volume of corn exports was 1.43 tons and the volume of raw rubber was 1.48 tons respectively. Therefore the trading volumes of these two years had reached the highest point and it was a milestone in the trading history. Therefore it is of great importance to boost the country’s agricultural produce export, we should solve some issues including relying on small market share with neighbouring countries.
According to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF), rice export in the 2018-2019 fiscal year has reached 3.584 million tons, which is the highest record in Myanmar’s rice market history. As a result, Myanmar has become one of the world’s largest exporters of rice.

Q : Could you explain more about relaxation of trading process?
The Ministry of Commerce is targeting to boost the trading sector together with trade promotion, trade facilitation, trade negotiation, trade liberalization, trade education and consumer protection which are main driving force in strengthening Myanmar’s economic power.
With the aim of boosting the trading sector, the Ministry of Commerce has relaxed some strict rules and regulations. Out of 11,167 trading items, only 4,818 items are needed to apply for license. The rest trading items can import according to the rules and regulations prescribed by the relevant Ministry.
The liberalization process aims at supporting the development of agriculture, public health care and infrastructure by creating a more competitive market, with lower prices and high-quality products. Because of this reform, foreign companies have been investing in the trading sector, importing products with high quality standards by applying the best supply chain models and practices. We expect the trade liberalization will stimulate investment across the whole agriculture supply chain, from the farm to the final consumer.
Q : Could you tell us some of the challenges faced by the Ministry of Commerce in the process of trading?
The government launched the 12-point economic policies and objectives, which will guide economic reforms and priority infrastructure investments, all of which are aligned with the administration’s chief objective of national reconciliation. The policy objectives will bring to fruition the government’s plans to promote linkage between the agriculture sector and the rest of the economy by providing a level playing field for talented entrepreneurs while ensuring inclusive growth for citizens.
As for the Ministry of Commerce, efforts are being made to crack down illegal import of foodstuff which can damage local small and medium businesses and has caused health hazards to local people.
Q : You said that there were many challenges in the market, and let us know how would you plan to overcome these challenges and obstacles?
As for the state, it is important to get revenues from the export sector which is a driving-force of the country’s economy. Similarly, it is crucial to get suitable jobs, decent income and profits for the exporters. That’s why we are trying many ways to get firm markets where a large volume of trading can flow freely. One thing is that we need to take into consideration of the key players who run in the private sectors. We should try to deal with their difficulties so that they can run their business and trading successfully.
The country’s economy will rise only when the private sector develops. Relevant ministries, states and regional governments and work committees need to coordinate and work together to fulfill the requirements and overcome the difficulties for private sector development.
According to the data, 90 per cent of the country’s economy is in the private sector and 99 per cent are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Therefore SME development agency and work assessment reporting group have been formed for the development of the private sectors.
Q : Could you tell us regarding Customer Rights and other related measures in the implementation process?
The Ministry of Commerce is conducting consumer protection works as a focal ministry. In conducting consumer protection works “consumer dispute resolution groups” were formed according to the law in states/regions and district levels while consumer information complaint centers were opened where consumer complaints are accepted and resolved.
By conducting consumer protection works, the public will obtain more consumer protection opportunities on one side while production and sale of goods and provision of services will be done correctly enabling the economic development of the country. We aim at implementing consumer protection works and to conduct consumer protection work processes more widely.
As for the Ministry of Commerce, efforts are being made to lay down necessary trade policies, rules and regulations, development of the quality of trade-related organizations, smoothness of the trade, reducing transport expenses, designating quality and standard of the products, examining quality control, development of entrepreneurs and increased sales of high-quality products instead of raw material.
(Translated by Nyi Nyi Aung)

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