Road closure leads to drop in Muse trade
THE value of Sino-Myanmar border trade through the Muse gate continued to fall in the current fiscal year, as the road closure of the Mandalay-Muse road, a major trading route, was extended due to recent fighting. Between 1 October, 2018 and 30 September, 2019, trade at the Muse crossing was valued at $4.53 billion, which plunged from $5.68 billion during the year-ago period, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
During the October-September period, exports through the Muse gate dropped significantly to $2.9 billion, while imports were valued at $1.6 billion. Exports through the Muse gate have declined due to tight confiscations and the suspension of trade by China since October, 2018, coupled with the closure of the Mandalay-Muse road since mid-August, a major trading route, due to recent fighting. Muse is an important border gate in Myanmar and handles the largest trade volume, but it has seen a steep drop as trade in agricultural products has been halted on account of China clamping down on illegal goods.
Myanmar merchants find it difficult to export goods to China through the legitimate channel, as they find the tax levied by China to be too high. Therefore, the confiscation of rice and price manipulation often occur. “We need to convert the government-to-government (G2G) agreement into a sustainable pact.
Myanmar requires G2G or business-to-business (B2B) agreements for the trade of pulses and beans, corn, sesame, fish, and shrimp, to grab a share of the Chinese market. The government and the private sector also need to move forward in harmony through public private partnerships (PPP),” according to U Ye Min Aung, the president of the Myanmar Rice Federation. 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