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August 09, 2020

Sino-Myanmar border trade likely to halt during week-long Chinese holiday

Sino-Myanmar border trade is likely to be suspended for a week, starting October 1, when China marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, according to traders.

Women collect the green tea leaves in a field in Shan State. 
Photo: Htet Myat

Normally, Chinese traders halt trading during long holidays, he added.
At present, border trade between Myanmar and China has returned to normal. Fighting in northern Shan State had brought about a temporary closure of trade. Additionally, the export of agricultural products has been halted often, 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.
Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows the value of Sino-Myanmar border trade plunged by US$1.23 billion between 1 October, 2018 and 20 September, 2019 from $6.86 billion recorded in the year-ago period. As of 20 September, border trade was pegged at $5.63 billion.
At present, about 20,000 rice bags have been shipped through the border gates with the permission of the Yunnan provincial government.
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.
This FY, border trade values totalled $4.6 billion at Muse, $143.58 million at Lweje, $518.38 million at Chinshwehaw, $292.73 million at Kanpiketee, and $8.5 million at Kengtung.—Htet Myat (Translated by EMM)

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