Myanmar: Exports through Muse down by a third

A crackdown by China on illegal trade along the vital Muse border crossing located in northern Shan State as well as severe restrictions on agricultural imports continues to affect Myanmar’s border exports to the country.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, exports declined 28.4 percent to US$2.74 billion from October 1, 2018 to August 2 this year compared to the same period of the corresponding year.

Imports to Myanmar rose 6.5pc to US$1.5 billion in the period under review compared to the corresponding period of last year. Total trade through Muse came to US$4.42 billion, a decline of nearly 20pc compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Ministry of Commerce deputy permanent secretary U Khin Maung Lwin said the restrictions imposed on the imports of Myanmar rice and maize continues to bite.

“We’ve been effectively handling the illegal border trade since 2018 following requests from China. Trade across the border has been slower with exports of rice and maize sharply down due to arrests of Chinese traders,” he said.

He noted that a major issue for the smuggling of goods across the border to the Chinese province of Yunnan continues to be a high tax rate. To mitigate the falling exports, the Myanmar government has approached China to trade through the barter system with a quota of goods.

U Khin Maung Lwin said through the barter system, Myanmar has clinched an agreement from China to buy 100,000 tonnes of rice through the border trade. “We’ve made the quality inspections of the rice and corn mills and their goods.

Only 11 have been given permission to export, we’re also waiting for the government-to-government arrangements to be made,” he added. – Translated