Sino-Myanmar border trade has registered a decrease of US$95.7 million between 1 October and 26 June in the current fiscal year 2019-2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows the value of Sino-Myanmar border trade at all five borders touched over $4.4 billion in the current fiscal, which significantly plunged from over $4.5 billion recorded in the year-ago period.
This FY, border trade values totalled $3.6 billion at Muse, $120 million at Lweje, $391 million at Chinshwehaw, $254 million at Kampaiti, and over $4.31 million at Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a drop in trade value at all those gates.
The decline in trade is attributed to the trade suspension and trade delay due to the tight security measures of the coronavirus outbreak and spread. At present, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar borders in light of viral infection fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods.
As a result of this, the traffic congestions occur both in two sides; Muse and Kyalgaung borders, causing a long queue on road, said Police Deputy Superintendent Chit Sein of No 123 Traffic Police Force (Muse).
The transport delays caused damage to the quality and doubled the truck fares. The growers and traders are suffering losses during the pandemic, according to a border depot.
Next, the export of agricultural products 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. Therefore, rice confiscation and price manipulation are occurring often at the border. In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the related 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 exports rice, sugar, pulses, sesame seeds, corn, dried tea leaves, fishery products, minerals, and animal products to China while it imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from the neighbouring country. — Htet Myat (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)