Thai-Myanmar trade on brink of halt as junta adopts closed-door economic policy

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Mawlamyine, July (19)

Border trade between Thailand and Myanmar has nearly ceased due to restrictions imposed by the military council, and imports and exports have declined, border traders told Than Lwin Times.

Since the beginning of last year, the military council has been revoking export/import licenses for Thai-Myanmar trade, requiring re-application for new licenses for goods to be imported, and setting strict rules on the import sector.

Furthermore, military council troops and departmental cooperation teams check and seize imported commodities, limit some goods sent to other countries, and prohibit the importation of items for domestic use.

A border trader said that the Thai-Myanmar trade has almost stopped because the military council also banned the existing export/import licenses.

With the increased restrictions imposed by the military council, the black market in border trade is growing, which may cause the price of Thai goods to rise exponentially in the near future, and the country may face a shortage of basic foodstuffs, said border traders.

According to a border trader, the military council intends to reinstate the previous closed-door economic system in Thailand-Myanmar trade.

“The military council, which is in desperate need of foreign currency, has prohibited the importation of foreign sugar and cement. How can the country’s factories function without regular electricity?” he stated.

However, the military council’s publication stated on July 18 that from April 1 to July 14, the value of Thailand-Myanmar trade was over 530 million US dollars, and Thailand’s purchase of food raw materials is on the rise.

Border traders said the border trade figures released by the military council are just numbers, and Thai-Myanmar trade has been almost at a standstill since the last week of May.

According to the military council’s statement, the border trade’s import value reached 365 million USD, the export value was over 165 million USD, and the trade deficit was 200 million USD.

Myanmar imports basic foodstuffs, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, raw materials for construction, and other consumer goods through the Thai-Myanmar border, and exports agricultural products, rubber, and aquatic products to Thailand.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo: CJ

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