Border trade stutters
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.