International

Myanmar-China crossings reopen for trade

Myanmar’s economy has tanked since February’s military coup. | Photo Credit: AP
AFP Yangon 27 November 2021 22:35 IST
Updated: 27 November 2021 22:35 IST

Movement of goods was suspended for almost seven months due to COVID-19

Two Myanmar-China border crossings have reopened for trade after the movement of goods was suspended for almost seven months due to COVID-19 restrictions, officials said.

Five shipping containers of produce were exchanged on Friday at the Kyin San Kyawt border gate, around 11 kilometres from the northern Myanmar city of Muse.

Min Thein, vice-chair of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre, said an estimated 8,00,000 bags of rice had been in limbo since the border was shut in April.

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“It will take one month to export all these rice bags,” he said.

China said it would allow more trucks to cross next week.

Elsewhere in Shan state, Myanmar, the Chinshwehaw border gate also reopened for commerce Friday, the Chinese Embassy in Yangon said.

“China-Myanmar border trade is trying to return to normal as soon as possible,” the Embassy posted on Facebook alongside pictures of container trucks and officials in full plastic protective gear.

Huge blow

The border shutdowns came as a huge blow to Myanmar’s agricultural export sector with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue lost.

The country’s economy has tanked since February’s military coup sparked widespread protests, bloodshed and international sanctions.

Myanmar typically exports seafood, fruit and rice to China via land routes, while it receives electronics, medicine and construction materials in return.

The trade disruptions increased the cost of living for families living in Myanmar border towns.

“Food and clothes that come from China now have a higher price,” a woman from Muse said.

“We have many difficulties as our income cannot keep up with the price of goods.”

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