Thailand’s high tax on corn imports leading to losses for traders

A worker piles sacks of corn a commodities warehouse in Myawady.  Photo: Mann Than Shwe Myint (IPRD)
A worker piles sacks of corn a commodities warehouse in Myawady. Photo: Mann Than Shwe Myint (IPRD)

Myanmar traders are stockpiling corns to export them to Thailand, but a high import barrier is posing difficulties, said traders from the Myawady border area.
Under a bilateral agreement between Thailand and Myanmar, corn exports were exempted from tax between 1 February and 31 August, 2019. At present, high taxes are serving as a hindrance to corn exports to Thailand.
Corn traders faced losses last year, too, owing to transportation difficulties and heavy rain.
During October-November in the current financial year, Myanmar shipped more than 100,000 tons of corn to other countries compared to 200,000 tons in the year-ago period.
As China is the major purchaser of Myanmar corn, the price is positively related to demand from the neighboring country. However, it has been one year since China suspended the importation of some agro products through the border gates, thereby forcing corn traders to turn to the Thai market.
Besides China, Myanmar exports corn to India, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. But, the volume of exports to those markets is low.
There are more than 1.9 million acres of corn plantations in Myanmar, primarily in Sagaing and Magway regions, and Chin, Kayin, Shan, and Kayah states.
As per data from the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar exported 1.5 million tons of corn, worth US$270 million, in the 2018-2019FY; 1.4 million tons of corn, worth over $290 million, in the 2017-2018FY; 1.2 million tons of corn, worth $250 million, in the 2016-2017FY; and, 1.1 million tons of corn, worth $300 million, in the 2015-2016FY. —Mann Than Shwe Myint/ Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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