FOLLOWING changes in some trade policies, the value of border trade between Myanmar and a major trade partner China dropped by US$345 million in three and a half months in the current financial year 2022-2023 compared to the corresponding period last year, the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce indicated.
At present, cross-border exports came to a halt owing to a volatile forex market, the gap between the regulated exchange rate and the market rate and a red-tape (seek an export licence for various beans and pulses).
The value of Myanmar-China border trade in all five border areas touched a low of $654.296 million between 1 April and 15 July, comprising exports worth $548.7 million and imports worth $105.569 million.
The figure significantly plummeted from over $999 million recorded in the year-ago period.
In the past three and half months, border trade values amounted to $526.94 million through Muse border, $59.378 million via Lweje, $25.95 million via Chinshwehaw, and $38.074 million via Kampaiti, and over $3.952million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a drop in trade value through all border posts between Myanmar and China, except Kampaiti.
Earlier, China banned Myanmar trucks and drivers to enter its side owing to the COVID-19 protocols and only Chinese short-haul drivers were allowed to transport the goods. This caused the problem of delays and bulk supply owing to the lack of Chinese short-haul truckers, prompting the operators to charge the transport rate to exorbitant prices.
Myanmar trucks are given the go-ahead for border-crossing through the Kyinsankyawt-Wang Ding trade channel out of Muse border points under the driver-substitution system starting from 16 May 2022, said U Min Thein, vice-chair of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre.
China shut down all the checkpoints linking to the Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed trading activity from 26 November on a trial run. Myanmar daily delivers rubber, green gram, chilli pepper, onion, mango and other food commodities to China through the Kyinsankyawt post.
Myanmar has opened five border trade zones with China; Muse, Lweje, Kampaiti, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung. The majority of the trade is carried out through the Muse land border, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated.— KK/GNLM