VP calls for advice on trade deficit
ADVICE needed: how can Myanmar reduce its US$3 billion trade gap? That was the question asked by Vice President U Myint Swe at a conference in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. The vice president had invited government officials, trading partner representatives and experts to the Hilton Hotel to seek their advice on a problem that seems to be getting worse.
“I would like to ask your advice on appropriate methods to solve Myanmar’s trade deficit, which has been rising year on year,” he told participants, urging their cooperation.
The call is seen as particularly important as global growth falters and Myanmar is still far from being integrated in the world economy. The World Bank’s initial forecast put global economic growth at 2.9 percent, but revised it to 2.4pc. Emerging markets and developing countries like Myanmar face a slowdown in economic growth as well as weaknesses in trading. “It’s important for Myanmar to promote rapid global integration. Especially in the trade sector, we need to integrate urgently,” said U Myint Swe.
Myanmar’s economy relies heavily on the export of agricultural products, which are considered to be of low quality. Agricultural experts say Myanmar’s crops contain chemical residues, a barrier to expanding export markets.
At the same time, oil and natural gas prices have fallen, dragging export earnings down further.
The Ministry of Commerce has drafted a comprehensive review report on trade, in cooperation with the World Bank, and has also drawn up a medium-term plan based on consultations with trading partners.
The 2016-17 Union Budget Law forecast exports at more than US$14 billion and imports at more than $17 billion. – Translation by Zar Zar Soe