By Nyein Nyein
Myanmar will strictly combat the illegal flow of goods into the country through the sea routes with the help of maritime police, according to the 31st regular meeting of entrepreneurs with the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC), led by Vice President U Myint Swe, held on 8 December at the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
“Illegal goods are flowing into the country through maritime trade. Maritime police patrol teams have not been formed. So, we are tackling this in cooperation with the Myanmar Navy, especially in the entry of goods at Yangon, Ayeyawady, and other popular ports. This matter needs to be handled effectively,” said Vice President U Myint Swe, , at the meeting.
Despite the low volume of illicit goods in airline cargo, a large number of goods are illegally entering the country through sea routes and border routes in Shan and Kayin states.
“We will start to take heavy action against unscrupulous traders. Earlier, they have not been regulated due to the political climate. Now, we have been assigned to take effective action on this situation,” said U Myint Swe.
Myanmar ranks 82nd among 84 countries on the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index, which can be attributed to those illegal traders, he said.
Foreign investors might come to consider investments owing to illicit trade, prompting authorities to take effective action on illegal traders, he said.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the border areas struggle to run their businesses due to the inflow of illegal goods. Therefore, the PSDC has formed illicit trade control and prevention teams in the nine regions and states. There were 1,065 cases of illegal trade registered as of October this year, with the teams confiscating illicit goods worth an estimated K15.64 billion.
Myanmar has also formed the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee to encourage collaboration across the state-level departments on cracking down on illegal trade to help improve the country’s ranking on the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)