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Monday, 22 December 2014

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The Myanmar Times

Border trade with China up 90pc, says commerce official

Traders move goods across the Myanmar China border at Muse. (Soe Than Lynn / The Myanmar Times / April 11, 2012)Traders move goods across the Myanmar China border at Muse. (Soe Than Lynn / The Myanmar Times / April 11, 2012)

China has emerged as the biggest winner in a year in which the value of Myanmar’s border trade increased to more than US$2 billion, a Ministry of Commerce official said last week.

The value of goods traded by land between Myanmar and China nearly doubled in the 2010-11 financial year, which ended on March 31, rising from $900 million in 2009-10 to about $1.7 billion, a whopping 89 percent jump.

Total border trade with China, Thailand, Bangladesh and India hit $2 billion in 2010-11, a $300 million increase over the previous financial year, the official said, adding that trade with China accounted for 80pc of all border trade. However, he said the value of border trade with India and Bangladesh was minimal.

“There are two main factors that have pushed the value of our border trade with China upwards: Chinese products are cheap, varied and useful, while the country’s transport network is good enough to supply enough of what consumers here require.

“Secondly, China is a huge consumer of a number of raw materials produced here,” he said.

Myanmar and China trade through border checkpoints at Muse and Chinshwehaw in Shan State, and Lweje and Kanpaiktee in Kachin State.

In the past year China was beset by bad weather that negatively affected a number of important food crops, including beans and pulses, maize and grain, which producers here benefited from, the Ministry of Commerce official said.

By March 18, Myanmar had exported about $1.07 billion worth of commodities to China and imported $940 million in commodities in return.

China purchased agricultural exports worth about $900 million, fisheries worth $70 million, and mined minerals worth $197 million.

Myanmar’s imports included heavy machinery for infrastructure and energy projects worth $450 million, as well as metal, concrete, wiring and construction materials worth about $320 million.

The value of goods traded with Thailand in the 2010-11 fiscal year amounted to about $298 million, the Ministry of Commerce official in Yangon said on April 7. Another ministry official, based in Nay Pyi Taw, said traders have found ways to get around the closure of the Myawaddy border trading point with Thailand, which has been shut since July last year.

“There are many border trading points and traders can always find another one to get their products through,” he said.

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