Myan­mar and In­dia need to set­tle pay­ment woes, says UMFCCI

The Myanmar Times - - Business - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­times.com

MYAN­MAR’S rigid bank­ing sys­tem is res­train­ing trade po­ten­tial with In­dia, one of the coun­try’s largest trad­ing part­ners, ac­cord­ing to se­nior of­fi­cials at Myan­mar’s peak busi­ness bod­ies.

U Myo Thet, vice pres­i­dent at the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (UMFCCI), told The Myan­mar Times last week that many In­dian traders wanted to deal in ru­pees, which de­layed pay­ment as lo­cal traders needed to set­tle in US.

“We have a lot of chal­lenges with the In­dia ru­pee, es­pe­cially when

UMFCCI vice pres­i­dent

trans­fer­ring money for pay­ment,” he said. “So we face de­lays in set­tling. The is­sue is a big chal­lenge for us.”

A his­tory of cur­rency in­sta­bil­ity and com­plex trade sanc­tions means that a lot of for­eign ex­change trans­ac­tions re­lat­ing to international trade with Myan­mar are com­pleted off­shore.

U Myo Thet said the is­sue of ru­pee ex­change had been raised with the pre­vi­ous govern­ment. He ex­pressed hope that the new NLD-led govern­ment might be able to ne­go­ti­ate through its diplo­matic ties to find a more ac­com­mo­dat­ing so­lu­tion with their In­dian coun­ter­parts.

Ro­hin­ton En­gi­neer, vice pres­i­dent of the Indo-Myan­mar Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­tries, said as soon as the three In­dian banks wait­ing to es­tab­lish a foothold on Myan­mar were granted ac­cess, trade would likely im­prove.

“We can do this process quickly, as soon as the Myan­mar govern­ment gives bank­ing li­cences to In­dia Banks,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Min­istry of Com­merce, in the 2015-16 fis­cal year trade be­tween In­dia and Myan­mar was val­ued at US$1.7 bil­lion. In­dia is the third-largest among Myan­mar’s bor­der trad­ing coun­tries.

‘We have a lot of chal­lenges with the In­dia ru­pee, es­pe­cially when trans­fer­ring money.’

U Myo Thet

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