Myanmar, China to check out delays in trade goods at border

Myanmar, China to check out delays in trade goods at border
Food trucks wait to enter China near Muse, close to the Chinese border in Shan state, on April 20, 2020, after China reduced the number of food trucks allowed to enter per day as a result of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Photo: Phyo Maung Maung/AFP

The Myanmar and Chinese authorities say traders are incurring losses due to restrictions at border gates and that field visits will be used to attempt to resolve the issues.

Myanmar Trade Department Director General (DG) Min Min said, “Their Yunnan Province Commerce Department DG met with our Consul General in Kunming. They said that they would investigate this case through field visits. And also our ambassador to China said that they agreed to resolve this case through negotiations as soon as possible by meeting with the government departments concerned.”

Minister of Economy and Commerce Dr. Than Myint met Chinese ambassador Mr Chan Hia on May 21 through a video conference call to resolve the issue of great losses suffered by Myanmar traders due to traffic jams at border trade posts. Similarly Myanmar consul general in Kunming, China reportedly met Yunnan Province Economy and Commerce Department DG in an attempt to resolve this issue.

Currently three border trade posts are open for trade operations on Sino-Myanmar border but the Chinese side does not allow Myanmar drivers to enter their country so that the Chinese drivers have to replace them in driving into their country which caused delays in trade activities and difficulties in goods flow into China.

DG Min Min said, “Strict restrictions are imposed at Jei Gao entry port across Muse on vehicles from Myanmar for entering into their country so that many vehicles cannot enter China. And then about half of vehicles waiting in Muse are blocked on the Myanmar side daily and then we have to resolve this issue especially for perishable fruit export. We are discussing this matter to resolve this issue at the earliest.”

The Myanmar side has called on China to increase the number of Chinese drivers to replace Myanmar drivers at the entry port and to resolve the delay in goods flow and other hassles with border trade.

At the Muse border trade zone, export of rice, pulses and beans, corn and live animals and easily perishable goods of fruits and vegetables are facing difficulties.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, about 700 cargo vehicles crossed the border daily at these border trade posts but after the Chinese government imposed trade restrictions due to the epidemic, only about 200 cargo vehicles can reportedly cross the border posts daily.

In terms of border trade, the Chinese government allows the export of seasonal fruits like watermelons, musk melons and mangoes legally and officially through these border trade posts.