This was revealed during a meeting of the Private-Sector Development Committee led by Vice President U Myint Swe and representatives of the private sector on December 8.
The Private-Sector Development Committee was formed in 2016 and to help solve the challenges faced by the private sector through better coordination between government ministries, state and regional governments, and the business sector.
Vice President U Myint Swe said at the meeting that illegal trade through border areas has serious impacts on local small and medium businesses, and urged efforts to combat the problem be stepped up. As part of the efforts, the government has formed the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee, which will focus on promoting cooperation between state-level government departments on key focus areas and strategies to curb the issue.
The Economist Intelligence Unit stated that Myanmar ranked the lowest on its Global Illicit Trade Environment Index in 2018.
The steering committee will focus on strict control of illegal trade, boosting local micro, small and medium businesses, better collection of state revenue, prevention of bribery, and ensuring fair trade practices, U Myint Swe, said.
A study by the European Chamber of Commerce on illicit trade in Myanmar released in September reported that, based on foreign customs data from Thailand, China, India and other countries, a total of US$25.12 billion worth of goods were exported to Myanmar last year. Meanwhile, Myanmar recorded official imports of US$18.68 billion for the same period, indicating that the volume of illegal trade might be as high as US$6.44 billion.
According to Myanmar official import data, foreign customs data and survey findings, the total illicit trade value of six selected consumer goods was US$2.37 billion out of US$6.44 billion in total. Most illicit trade is believed to involve smuggling through border trade routes.
Customs and other government authorities seized smuggled products at ports, airports and borders worth nearly K34.2 billion (US$25.14 million) last year, equivalent to just 0.4 percent of illicit trade volumes.
The main driver of illegal trade is profit from evading taxes. Another cause is the restriction on the legal imports on certain goods, according to the European Chamber of Commerce report.
The Private Sector Development Committee has formed special units to curb illegal imports in nine states and regions. These units prevented 1,065 attempts to smuggle goods worth a total of K15.645 billion from September 2018 to October 2019.
FROM : MYANMAR TIMES