By Nyein Nyein
Myanmar is prepping for corn export to Thailand under zero-tariff starting from 1 February 2021, said U Min Khaing, chairman of Myanmar Corn Industrial Association. Thailand imposed a hefty tariff on import during its corn season to protect the interest of its growers. It grants tax exemption for corn import between February and August, he continued.
“Thailand imposed 73 per cent of tax on corn import during the harvest season. The large tariffs prompt Myanmar’s exporters to halt the trade at that time. Consequently, we wait for the tax exemption period from 1 February to 31 August, he elaborated. Thailand yearly imports up to 5 million tonnes of corn from external markets. With the local corn consumption growing, Myanmar’s corn export is expected to reach 1.6 million tonnes in the current financial year, the association stated.
At present, Myanmar’s corn export is heavily relying on border trade. The country mainly sends the corn to the neighbouring countries China, Laos and Thailand. It is also shipped to Singapore, Malaysia and Viet Nam through sea trade. The corn fetched US$230-240 per tonne.
Last 26 June 2020, the Union Minister for Commerce Dr Than Myint met a delegation led by Chairman U Min Khaing of Myanmar Corn Industrial Association. They discussed matters concerning the trade openness for corn with Thailand, legal trade channel to China, explore more corn markets and the opening of corn depot at the Myawady border to facilitate corn trade and avoid scams.
Additionally, getting government’s loan access for corn growers to enhance productivity and boost exports in the post-COVID-19 era, quality control measures for safe and quality products, choosing pedigree corn seeds for cultivation, attracting investments for corn peeling machine, coordinating the related associations to supply local feed industry which plays a crucial role for the livestock sector and systematic payments in border trade were also highlighted. Myanmar exported 2.2 million tonnes of corns to the foreign market in the past FY2019-2020, with an estimated value of $360 million, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. At present, corn is cultivated in Shan, Kachin, Kayah and Kayin states and Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions. Myanmar has three corn seasons — winter, summer and monsoon. The country yearly produces 2.5-3 million tonnes of corns.
Myanmar and Thailand started to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding on corn trade on 12 December 2017. Under the MoU, Myanmar, corn exports were exempted from tax between 1 February and 31 August. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)