Myanmar’s border trade with neighbouring countries sees US$ 8.6 billion

19 Aug

MYANMAR’S border trade with neighbouring countries reached US$8.6 billion as of late July in the current financial year, an increase of over US$280 million compared to the same period of last financial year, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar’s border trade with its neighbours was US$8.3 billion in the same period of financial year 2018-2019, the ministry said. 

Myanmar’s export volume through its borders fetched US$5.8 billion while the country’s import reached over US$2.7 billion. Muse border saw the largest volume and value of Myanmar’s total border trade, with an estimated value of over US$5.4 billion, followed by Myawady with US$858 million and Chinshwehaw with US$554 million during that period. The Sino-Myanmar border trade through all five border crossings has registered over US$4.7 billion in the current financial year, a decrease of US$123.5 million compared to the same period of last financial year, according to the ministry’s statistics. Muse topped the list of border checkpoints with the most trade value of US$3.8 billion, followed by Heekhee with US$ 1.6 billion, the ministry’s data showed. 

Myanmar’s border trade with China was recorded over US$ 4.83 billion in the year-ago period. Border trade with China was valued at US$3.89 billion through Muse border gate in this FY, US$123.35 million via Lweje, US$430.7 million via Chinshwehaw, US$263 million via Kampaiti, and over US$4.45 million via Kengtung. The decline in bilateral trade is attributed to the suspension and delay of some commodities amid the tight security measures of coronavirus. China has been beefing up border control measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection. China’s investment in Myanmar during the period from 1988 to date was valued at more than US$20 billion which is equivalent to about 26 per cent of total FDI in the country. 

The trade volume between Myanmar and Thailand has reached US$2.71 billion in total, a decrease of US$103.9 million compared to the same period of last year, according to ministry. The bilateral border trade saw US$2.82 billion in last year. Myanmar-Thailand border trade totalled US$2.711 billion between 1 October last year and early this year, which included US$1.95 billion in exports and US$757 million in imports. The Hteekhee border recorded the highest trade value of US$1.35 billion, followed by Myawady with US$820 million and Kawthoung with US$299 million. The country mainly conducts border trade with Thailand via seven borders Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Myeik, Hteekhee, Mawtaung and Mese checkpoints. 

Meanwhile, Myanmar-India border trade is down by over 40% for the current financial year due to the temporary closure of border posts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The trade value went down from US$128 million to US$76 million for the same period, a decrease of 40% compared to the same period of last financial year. The two countries conduct border trade mainly through the Tamu, Reed, Thantlang, and Kenglap cross-border trade camps, while a major part of bilateral trade is carried out via the sea. India is one of Myanmar’s top trading partners and the two countries inked a bilateral border trade agreement in 1994. 

Myanmar-Bangladesh bilateral trade via border checkpoints was valued at over US$747.63 million as of 26 June in the current 2019-2020 financial year, an increase of US$730 million from the corresponding period of last year. When compared with last FY, this FY saw a significant surge in the value of exports by US$427.42 million while the bilateral imports rose by US$302.96 million. Between 1 October last year and 26 June this year, Myanmar transported commodities worth US$443.4 million to Bangladesh and imported goods valued at over US$304.2 million. Myanmar exports goods to Bangladesh through both maritime and land routes. 

Myanmar mainly exports agricultural products, animal products, marine products, minerals, forest products, manufacturing goods and others while capital goods, intermediate goods to neighbouring countries and consumer goods, machinery and medicine are imported to the country. Around 20 percent of Myanmar’s total trade is conducted through its border crossings and the remaining 80 per cent is done by sea route.

By Kyaw Htike Soe