Shan State au­thor­i­ties ramp up ef­forts to le­galise bor­der trade

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

TRADERS used to smug­gling their goods over the bor­der in Shan State with­out pay­ing their dues are now being en­cour­aged to pay taxes, no ques­tions asked. The rev­enue-pro­duc­ing mea­sure is part of a drive to ex­pand the scope of le­gal trad­ing around the bor­der posts lead­ing to China, of­fi­cials say.

U Min Aung, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Il­le­gal Trade Preven­tion and Su­per­vi­sion Con­trol Com­mit­tee in Shan State, said the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties had launched the ef­fort to turn in­for­mal trade into le­gal trade last Au­gust as a mat­ter of pol­icy. Trade of­fi­cials, the me­dia, po­lice, cus­toms and cus­tomer af­fairs are work­ing to­gether on the project.

“One ap­proach we’re pur­su­ing is to col­lect taxes on il­le­gally traded prod­ucts as a first step to le­galis- ing trade. This helps us cut losses. We don’t con­fis­cate, seize or de­stroy the prod­ucts, or fine the traders – we just col­lect the tax,” he said. “Al­though the third time we do it, we in­ves­ti­gate to try to go fur­ther up the chain.”

The Shan State Hlut­taw has pro­posed crack­ing down on smug­gling to re­duce cor­rup­tion at the borer.

The gov­ern­ment set up the Il­le­gal Trade Preven­tion and Su­per­vi­sion Con­trol Com­mit­tee, cov­er­ing three states and re­gions, to try to re­duce lo­cal pro­duce being smug­gled through bor­der posts.

“Where rep­re­sen­ta­tives have been as­signed, im­port and ex­port li­cences are legally ap­plied for,” U Min Aung said. “When traders pay their taxes il­le­gal trade de­clines.”

Ex­port and im­port li­cences now cover new types of goods, in­clud­ing elec­tron­ics, which had not been listed be­fore. Traders whose cur­rent li­cence does not cover all their ac­tiv­i­ties have been in­vited to reap­ply.

Il­le­gal trade falls when traders aware of and com­mit to their tax obli­ga­tions, U Min Aung said.

“If they are trad­ing 500 items, they report 500 items. Be­fore, they would sell 450 items and de­clare and pay tax on just 200,” he said, adding that the traders wanted to co­op­er­ate to be­come le­git­i­mate, so long as gov­ern­ment did its part.

Mai Yu trade su­per­vi­sion gate col­lected more than K27 mil­lion in taxes from a trad­ing vol­ume of more than K1.378 bil­lion be­tween the end of Au­gust and Oc­to­ber 20.

At Tachileik gate, tax amounted to more than K3.231 bil­lion, and a fur­ther K140 mil­lion at Tachileik No 1 bridge. More than K53 mil­lion was col­lected at Kyaing­tong/ Keng­tung township as of Oc­to­ber 20, cus­toms au­thor­i­ties said.

– Trans­la­tion by San Layy

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