First-quar­ter trade strong

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

For­eign trade vol­umes are up for the first quar­ter of this fi­nan­cial year and should re­ceive an­other boost when the govern­ment lifts im­port li­cence re­quire­ments on an ar­ray of goods.

MYAN­MAR’s for­eign trade has passed US$6 bil­lion since the new govern­ment took of­fice, ac­cord­ing to U Yan Naing Tun, direc­tor gen­eral of the Direc­torate of Trade, un­der the Min­istry of Com­merce.

At a press con­fer­ence at the com­merce min­istry on July 1, U Yan Naing Tun said that the for­eign trade fig­ure for the first three months of the 201617 fis­cal year was up al­most $400 mil­lion on the same pe­riod in 2015-16.

Mar­itime trade ac­counted for $4.44 bil­lion of Myan­mar’s for­eign trade in the first quar­ter of this fi­nan­cial year, and bor­der trade the other $1.55 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to min­istry data.

The coun­try is still im­port­ing more than it ex­ports – $1.57 bil­lion of ex­ports against $2.89 bil­lion in im­ports for mar­itime trade in the first quar­ter. Of bor­der trade, $964 mil­lion was ex­ports and $595 mil­lion im­ports, the data showed. To­tal first-quar­ter ex­ports were $2.53 bil­lion, up $287 mil­lion on the same pe­riod last year, U Yan Naing Tun said. Im­ports hit $3.48 bil­lion – up $112 mil­lion on the pre­vi­ous year.

For­eign trade could re­ceive an­other boost when the com­merce min­istry re­leases a list of 267 goods that no longer re­quire an im­port li­cence, which U Yan Naing Tun said would hap­pen soon.

“Our de­part­ment has been re­view­ing what goods to lib­er­alise since April,” he said. The min­istry keeps a list of 570 goods that re­quire an im­port li­cence, and as part of the 100-day ini­tia­tive it is plan­ning to re­move many of these.

Of­fi­cials from the min­istry of com­merce, Cus­toms De­part­ment and the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try held dis­cus­sions last month on which goods to re­move, he added.

A de­tailed list has yet to be pub­lished, but U Yan Naing Tun said that cer­tain types of ve­hi­cles, ma­chines and spare parts would be among those freed from im­port per­mits.

Ex­port re­stric­tions are also on the way, he added.

“Ex­port­ing Niger seed oil; mus­tard seed and oil; sun­flower seed and oil and oil-cakes was pre­vi­ously pro­hib­ited,” he said. “But we will [soon] al­low ex­port if there is a mar­ket and they are lo­cally pro­duced.”

The Min­istry of Com­merce is aim­ing for a min­i­mum of $11.1 bil­lion in ex­ports for the 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year, and wants to see this in­crease three-fold by the end of its five-year plan, which started this year.

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