Myanmar, China to ink bilateral agreement on border trade

MYANMAR and the government of Yunnan, China will sign a bilateral trade agreement.

Myanmar and the government of Yunnan, China will sign a bilateral trade agreement when U Than Myint, Minister of Commerce, visits the Kunming Trade Fair next month.

The agreement, once signed, will facilitate the legal export of Myanmar produced agriculture products such as rice and sugar across the Myanmar- China border, said U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary at the Ministry of Commerce. It will also come after years of restrictive trade measures taken by the Chinese in attempts to crack down on illegal border trade.

The illegal trading practices have long resulted in losses for Myanmar merchants, who have for years been calling for more negotiations with China in enabling channels and quotas for the legal trade of goods.

As such, “if this government-to-government agreement is signed, Myanmar and China will be able to negotiate ways to overcome the existing obstacles to border trade,” he said.

Under the agreement, Myanmar is expecting to export rice, sugar, maize, pulses and beans and other agricultural products to China. Meanwhile, it will import the equivalent value of electrical equipment, steel and iron ore and other materials, said U Htay Oo, vice chair of the Sugarcane Manufacturers & Traders Association.

If this government-to-government agreement is signed, Myanmar and China will be able to negotiate ways to overcome the existing obstacles to border trade.’ U Khin Maung Lwin, Ministry of Commerce

If the agreement is signed, China will buy 1 million tonnes of Myanmar rice and 300,000 tonnes of sugar U Htay Oo said. Myanmar is hoping to export at least 300,000 tonnes, which is around half the sugar produced domestically, to China within this year and next.

If needed, sugar traders will be able to apply for import licenses of sugar for the purpose of re-exporting to China, based on demand. Last year, the authorities had temporarily banned the issue of such licenses to control an oversupply of sugar in the country, which has since abated.

The governments will sign a Memorandum of Understanding but merchant associations from both sides are expected to follow up with detailed agreements, U Khin Maung Lwin explained.

Source: Mmtimes