Border trade stut­ters

The Myanmar Times - - Business - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

BORDER trade be­tween Myan­mar and Bangladesh has been af­fected by the se­cu­rity crack­down, fol­low­ing the Oc­to­ber 9 at­tack in a Rakhine State border guard po­lice base.

Trade was sus­pended on Oc­to­ber 9, but re­sumed on Oc­to­ber 14. Maung­daw Border Trade Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent U Aung Myint Thein told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day that trade was also sus­pended on Oc­to­ber 18 due to se­cu­rity con­cerns.

“Ma­rine po­lice or naval forces have barred peo­ple from pass­ing the Maung­daw border gate,” he said. “They said it is an order from su­pe­ri­ors. I think they might have re­ceived in­for­ma­tion on pos­si­ble mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions.”

Dur­ing the four days of re­sumed ex­ports, Myan­mar sold salt­wa­ter shrimp, fish, dried fish, plum jams and kapok wood to Bangladesh, rep­re­sent­ing al­most US$100,000 in trade. There were no im­ports dur­ing the pe­riod.

Sources on the ground in Maung­daw say the price of food has shot up in the wake of the re­cent mil­i­tant at­tack and en­su­ing crack­down, with Mus­lim-owned shops in town shut­tered. One man, on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the price for a bag of rice had al­most dou­bled to K26,000.

The Min­istry of Com­merce’s fig­ures in­di­cate trade be­tween Myan­mar and Bangladesh at the Maung­daw border point was worth $5.435 mil­lion last fi­nan­cial year. The value of trade from the start of 2016-17 fi­nan­cial year to mid-Au­gust was placed at $2.61m.

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