Muse trade down by $123 mln as of 1 May

LOCAL NEWS

The value of Sino-Myanmar border trade through the Muse border plunged to US$2.9 billion between 1 October and 1 May in the current financial year 2019-2020, a decrease of $123 million compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Exports through the Muse border were worth $1.89 billion, while imports were valued at $1.02 billion. During a-year ago period, Muse border witnessed trade worth $3.03 billion.
Muse is an important border in Myanmar and handles the largest 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 coronavirus impacts slow the trade this year.
Following the coronavirus consequences, trading at Muse border did not reach a monthly target in the past months. The trade values were registered about $370 million in January, $260 million in February, $300 million in March and over $290 million in April, while the monthly target was aimed at above $400 million.
Myanmar intends to reach trade target of over $5 billion at Muse border for the current fiscal. Border trade values at Muse stood at $5.4 billion in the 2016-2017FY, $5.8 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $4.8 billion in the 2018-2019FY respectively, as per data of the Commerce Ministry.
At present, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar borders in light of coronavirus fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods.
Next, the export of agricultural products is often halted, on account of China clamping down on illegal goods. Myanmar merchants are facing difficulties in exporting goods to China through the legitimate channel as they find the tax levied by China is too high. Therefore, rice confiscation and price manipulation are occurring often at the border.
In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant departments and 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 exports rice, sugar, pulses, sesame seeds, corn, dried tea leaves, fishery products, minerals, and animal products to China, while it imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from the neighbouring country. — Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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