Au­thor­i­ties ques­tion trade sur­plus at Htee Khee bor­der gate

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Business - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

EX­PORTS rose at the Htee Khee bor­der gate be­tween the Myan­mar and Thai cross­ing in 2016-17 and ap­pear to be ex­ceed­ing im­ports in 2017-18, data re­leased by bor­der trade of­fice showed.

The Htee Khee bor­der trade of­fice is lo­cated some 100 miles from Dawei Town­ship in Tanintharyi. It opened in 2013 to over­see trade be­tween Myan­mar and Thai­land.

In 2016-17, Myan­mar ex­ports rose 35.5 per cent to US$8.2 mil­lion, while im­ports dropped 30.2 pc to US$38.3 mil­lion, the data re­vealed. For the first quar­ter of the 2017-18 fis­cal year, ex­ports amounted to US$460,000 while im­ports were down to just US$20,000.

In com­par­i­son, there were no ex­port ac­tiv­i­ties at Htee Khee be­fore 2014-15, while im­ports for that year were as high as US$54.9 mil­lion.

The au­thor­i­ties have raised doubts over the au­then­tic­ity of the data pro­vided. U Kyaw Kyaw Oo, Sec­re­tary of Tanintharyi Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, said the data re­leased by the bor­der trade of­fice may not re­flect ac­tual trade vol­umes be­tween the two coun­tries.

Myan­mar’s ma­jor ex­port items are coal, tin, fish and squid while im­ports in­clude diesel oil, mixed liq­ue­fied petroleum gas and ma­chines and spare parts, said U Aung Win Khaing, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor at the depart­ment of trade in Htee Khee bor­der trade of­fice.

“We per­mit 152 items of ex­port and 166 items of im­port. The ex­port or im­port of al­co­hol, beer and cig­a­rettes is not al­lowed. But there are five il­le­gal trade routes along the Dawei- Htee Khee road. The ac­tual trade vol­ume maybe much more than the data from the bor­der trade of­fice,” he said.

The Htee Khee bor­der gate also fa­cil­i­tates ve­hi­cle im­ports by Thai in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment com­pany Ital­ian-thai De­vel­op­ment (ITD).

ITD is also de­vel­op­ing Phase 1 of the Dawei Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone (SEZ). It first started im­port­ing ve­hi­cles for the de­vel­op­ment of Dawei SEZ in 2011.

“It is not pos­si­ble for the ex­ports to ex­ceed the im­ports. There are many Thai goods in the Dawei mar­ket, in­clud­ing re­stricted items like frozen meat, veg­eta­bles and fruits which even pass to Mawlamyine and Ye mar­kets in Mon State via Dawei,” U Kyaw Kyaw Oo said.

The re­gional gov­ern­ment needs to strictly su­per­vise il­le­gal trade as the il­le­gal mar­ket is very big in this area, U Kyaw Kyaw Oo said. “The re­stricted items are pass­ing through many il­le­gal gates along the route. We need to en­force the laws and rules to pro­tect the mar­ket against il­le­gal trade,” he said.

Au­thor­i­ties have raised doubts over the au­then­tic­ity of Htee Khee’s trade sur­plus. Photo: Su Phyo Win

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