Myanmar-China trade balance tilted in favour of China

World Tuesday 28/May/2024 11:48 AM
By: Agencies
Myanmar-China trade balance tilted in favour of China

New Delhi: Since 2018 the Myanmar-China trade has been tilted in favour of China. In FY 2018-19 the trade imbalance stood at USD 1266.423 million. This imbalance has continued till date.

In 2019-20 the difference was USD1309.122 million, in 2020-21 it was USD533.519 million, in 2022-23 the difference stood at 1613.354 million USD and in FY 2023-24 was USD1696.455 million. (FY 2021-22 being year of Mini Budget).

The export items from Myanmar includes basic materials viz Natural Gas, rubber, Green Mung Bean, Rice, other Agri products, Seeds, ores and Fisheries, while imports include Cotton Fabrics, fertilizers, Industrial goods, Vehicles, Electric Goods, Chemicals and Plastic etc. . It also indicates pathetic conditions of Myanmar manufacturing sector where as they import mostly furnished goods.

The data available is only the official figures but real matter of concern is illegal or unaccounted export of Myanmar's natural wealth to China in the form of precious materials like Gold, Jade and rare earth minerals. Myanmar contains 9% of the world's rare earth minerals, which are not officially exported or utilized to uplift deteriorating Myanmar Economy but are being smuggled to China.

A “Memorandum of Understanding on the “Establishment of the Working Group for the Promotion of Smooth Trade” between Myanmar and China was signed on 18th Jan, 2020. The agreement was renewed on 24 Jan, 2024. In order to address the issues of bilateral trade Myanmar sent an official letter to Chinese Embassy on 11th May, 2023, requesting for a meeting of Working Group of Smooth Trade, which has not been responded by Chinese authorities till date.

In order to gain access to Chinese markets, Myanmar regularly participates in Trade Expo, seminars etc. In 2022-23 Myanmar duly participated in China-ASEAN Expo, Lashio-Lancang Border Trade Fair, China-South Asia Expo and China Kunming Export-Import Expo.

Chinese influence in Myanmar Economy is deeply rooted to such an extent that has put China in a dictating position where all the major actors viz. SAC, EAOs and NLD are following Chinese wishes. Myanmar is helpless and has no alternative to counter trade imbalance with China.