Thai suspension of aquatic product imports from Myanmar indefinitely postponed

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The file photo shows that trading activities of the fish market in Myeik. Photo: Myint Oo (Myeik)

Due to discussions between the Thai Ambassador to Myanmar and the Regional Fisheries Federation, the Thai side has indefinitely postponed the ban on the importation of 10 types of aquatic products from the Taninthayi Region of Myanmar.
It was reported that Thailand had initially planned to suspend the import of these aquatic products from Myanmar from 1 July to 31 December. Following this announcement, the Thai Ambassador to Myanmar visited Myeik on 28 June and held discussions with the Chairman and Secretary of the Taninthayi Region Fisheries Federation, along with other relevant departments.
“Fish buyers in Ranong, Thailand, are dissatisfied that seafood products from the Myeik area are being imported through the Mawtaung-Singkhon border gate. These products can be directly exported from the Singkhon border gate to markets in China and Vietnam, where the prices are higher. As a result, fisheries in Ranong, Thailand, have reduced the prices of all kinds of fish imported from Myanmar. For instance, the price difference for one kilo of cuttlefish can be up to 100 baht when sold in Ranong compared to Singkhon. Consequently, Ranong has put pressure on the Pragnut Province officer to stop importing aquatic products from Myanmar. With the reopening, it will be more convenient for water entrepreneurs, fishermen, and workers. Without this, the situation could lead to a crisis,” said an aquatic products importer via the Mawtaung-Singkhon route.
The Deputy Province Officer reiterated that the aquatic products market in the Taninthayi Region has been controlled by Thailand’s Ranong for about four decades. The fishing business owners in Thailand submitted a request, which led to the suspension not being based on the opinion of the Pragnut Province Governor.
“Permission to import 10 types of aquatic products, including fish such as kingfish, from the Mawtaung-Singkhon border gate was temporarily suspended by the decision of the Deputy Province Officer of Pragnut. This suspension could decrease trade through Mawtaung, affecting water companies in Myeik District, local fishermen, cold storage facilities, and associated workers, potentially leading to job losses. When I discussed this with the Thai Ambassador to Myanmar, he also consulted relevant Thai departments. Consequently, the Deputy Province Officer of Pragnut announced that the suspension has been postponed indefinitely,” said a discussion attendee.
The Thai Ambassador highlighted that Thailand’s decision to temporarily suspend the import of 10 types of aquatic products could reduce bilateral trade between Myanmar and Thailand. Emphasis should be placed on maintaining the friendship between Myeik and Pragnut.
Following the meeting held on 7 June 2024, it was initially announced that the suspension of the import permit would take effect. However, this announcement has now been postponed indefinitely. Therefore, aquatic products from the Taninthayi Region and Myeik District can continue to be exported through the Mawtaung-Singkhon border gate as usual.
Most buyers in Thailand are aware of the challenges faced by Myanmar businessmen due to low fish prices at the beginning of the season. Since fish prices in Myanmar are not high, the fish caught in Myanmar’s waters are primarily sold in the Thai market. — Myint Oo (Myeik)/ TKO

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