Mekong Monitor: Myanmar’s border trade reaches US$3.3 billion in 2019/2020 fiscal year

Photo credit: Myanmar Times





Myanmar’s border trade reaches US$3.3 billion in 2019/2020 fiscal year
(3 February 2020) Myanmar’s border trade during the period 1 October to 24 January in the current 2019/2020 fiscal year increased to US$3.28 billion from US$2.68 billion in the same period during the previous fiscal year. Its exports via border gates totalled US$2.24 billion while imports reached US$1.04 billion. Compared with the 2018/2019 fiscal year, export earnings went up by more than US$459 million while the import value increased by US$136 million. Of the 18 border trade camps involved, the Muse border gate saw the largest volume and value of border trade with an estimated value of more than US$1.7 billion in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, followed by Htikhee with US$559 million and Myawady with US$338 million.
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Vietnam’s customs sector targets collecting US$14.6 billion in 2020
(4 February 2020) Vietnam’s General Department of Customs aims to collect US$14.6 billion for the State budget for 2020, a year-on-year increase of 12.5%. The target is calculated based on 6.8% GDP growth, crude oil price at US$60 per barrel, total export turnover increase of 7% and import turnover increase of 9%. The goal, however would be difficult to achieve as new free trade agreements (FTAs) ​​are expected to come into effect this year with many products having import tax rates cut to 0%, according to the General Department of Customs. To achieve the State budget collection for this year, the customs sector will need to implement proposed budget collection solutions. Last year, the customs department strengthened measures to combat loss of revenue such as inspection and examination of enterprises. It also boosted controls over the price of imports and exports. The efforts resulted in the department saving some US$200 million of lost revenue.
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Vietnamese PM approves national financial inclusion strategy until 2025
(3 February 2020) Under its national financial inclusion strategy, Vietnam is targeting for at least 80% of its adult population to have bank accounts by 2025. The national financial inclusion strategy until 2025 with a vision to 2030 was approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and is aimed at ensuring individuals and enterprises, particularly low-income and vulnerable people, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, to have access to basic financial products and services in a convenient way and at affordable prices. By the end of 2025, the strategy is targeting at least 50% of communes nationwide to have offices that provide financial services and at least 25%-30% of adults have saving accounts at credit institutions.
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Laos’ wood pulp, waste paper exports hit US$251 million in 2019
(30 January 2020) Laos’ wood pulp and waste paper exports between January and October 2019 amounted to US$251 million, placing these commodities in fourth place overall in terms of export revenue. Wood pulp and waste paper exports from Laos to China totalled US$250 million, while exports to Thailand and Vietnam were valued at US$800,000 and US$200,000 respectively, according to the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Despite the country’s significant wood pulp and waste paper exports, its imports of these two commodities are worth about US$24 million. Of this figure, imports from China are valued at US$86 million, the US about US$9 million, South Korea US$77,000, and Thailand US$62,000. In terms of overall export revenue during the same period, electricity came in first place with exports totalling US$1.07 billion, followed by gold ore with exports of US$550 million and copper with US$401 million.
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Thai Government says strong baht hurting cross border trade
(30 January 2020) The strong Thai baht may once again affect border trade with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, according to a senior official from the Thai Ministry of Commerce. Thailand missed the target of cross border trade volume in 2019 due to mainly the baht’s appreciation, said Keerati Rushchano, director-general of the ministry’s Foreign Trade Department. Border trade in 2019 dropped 3.43% to US$43.1 billion. Besides the strengthening of the Thai baht, the global economic slowdown, trade frictions and overall volatile foreign exchange have also affected Thailand’s border trade, Keerati added. Of total trade figures, exports from Thailand accounted for US$24.3 billion, down 2.72% from 2018, while imports were worth US$19 billion, down 4.31%.
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About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.

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