Sino-Myanmar border trade up despite political changes: MOC reports

Sino-Myanmar border trade has registered a rise of US$227.37 million between 1 October and 5 March in the current financial year 2020-2021 amid the political changes, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

As of 5 March 2021, Myanmar’s exports to China through the land border were valued at $1.9 billion, while imports are worth $897.8 million. The value of Sino-Myanmar border trade via all five border posts touched over $2.89 billion in the current FY, which significantly soared from over $2.66 billion recorded in the year-ago period, indicated the Ministry of Commerce’s data.

The increase in trade is attributed to the extending trading hours at Muse-Man Wein and Kyinsankyawt checkpoints. Furthermore, Pan Hseng (Kyukok) and Wan Ding border posts also gave the green light to fruit trucks under the driver substitution system.

This FY, border trade values totalled $2.28 billion through the Muse border, $123.3 million via Lweje, $274.936 million via Chinshwehaw, $204.8 million via Kampaiti, and over $5 million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a rise in trade value through all those border posts.
Muse is an essential border in Myanmar and handles an enormous volume of trade. But at times, it has experienced a sharp drop in trade on account of China clamping down on illegal goods, resulting in a halt in the trade of agricultural products. Moreover, the COVID-19 impacts slow the trade last year.

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus on the border, China banned border crossing. Shortly after that, about 50 drivers are allowed to pass the crossing under the driver substitution system. Those drivers are, however, tested every three days. As a result of this, China included them in the vaccination programme, covering more than 40 Myanmar truck drivers, vice-chair of Muse rice wholesale centre said.

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 the 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’s MOC is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through negotiations.

Myanmar exports agricultural products, including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, and others. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through the Muse-Ruili border. The raw CMP materials, electrical appliance and consumer goods are imported into the country. —KK/GNLM

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