Limited trade to restart on China-Myanmar border 

Border trade with Myanmar—shut down by the Chinese government in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19—is scheduled to start up again under a new set of restrictions, according to merchants based in the Shan State-China border town of Muse.

The Kyin San Kyawt gate, one of the five major trading gates in Muse’s 105 Mile Trade Zone, is scheduled to reopen on Friday after being closed since July 8, vice chair of the Muse Fruit Wholesale Centre Sai Khin Maung told Myanmar Now.

No date has been given regarding the opening of the other four gates, which have been closed since April 2020. Exports at the overland trade route have plummeted by more than $534m as a result of the shutdown. 

Five shipping containers from Myanmar and five from China will initially be exchanged through the Kyin San Kyawt gate to signify the restart of trade. 

“There will be Covid-19 restrictions such as using designated drivers [to carry the goods across the border] and disinfection procedures. We’ll only know for sure how it goes when it finally starts,” Sai Khin Maung said. “Because the other gates are still going to be closed, only some commodities—such as beans, maize and rice—will be traded.”

He added that more than 2,000 trucks carrying such dried goods had been stranded in Muse while the borders were closed; the five designated shipping containers will deliver these goods that had been stored in Myanmar to China. 

Min Thein, the vice chair of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre, said that centre had decided to resume trade on a trial basis after a brief meeting with officers from the junta’s Ministry of Commerce, as well as merchants and truck drivers at the 105 Mile Trade Zone on Tuesday.

“We can resume our operations once these gates reopen. It would be very beneficial for the labourers who depend on our business. Our commercial sector would be able to operate again,” he said.

Min Thein continued that rice, broken rice, beans and maize would be exported on November 26 and that they hoped to increase the number of containers allowed to trade depending on the results of the trial period.

The Shwe Lwei In company has been permitted to transport the containers and that the transportation charges across the border for goods within the containers are likely to be increased from 800 kyat (US$0.45) per 48kg bag of rice to 1,600 kyat ($0.90) per pack.

The Chin Shwe Haw Trading Zone located inside the Kokang autonomous region in northern Shan State, reopened in late October after being closed for all trade except for shipments of Covid-19 prevention materials and medicines

Aung Naing, the Myanmar junta’s investment and foreign economic relations minister, said during the China-ASEAN meeting in September that the gate closures had meant trade between the two countries was difficult and asked that they be opened.

Myanmar has typically exported agricultural products such as rice, beans and fruit to China through overland routes, and imported medicine, electronics and construction materials. 

Related Articles

Back to top button