Aug 29, 2011

Commerce officials aim to quadruple Bangladesh trade

Ministry of Commerce officials are thinking big when it comes to boosting trade with Bangladesh by setting a target of US$500 million in coming years.

Trade in the 2010-11 financial year, which ended on March 31, amounted to almost $140 million, with Myanmar enjoying an upper hand in terms of exports a Ministry of Commerce official said. Myanmar exported goods worth about $125 million and imported products worth about $11 million, he added.

By July in the 2011-12 fiscal year, Myanmar had exported about $25 million worth of fisheries, rice and agro-based products and imported mainly clothing and fertiliser in return.

Border trade officials from both sides also discussed expanding trade during a meeting on July 7 in Maungdaw, in Rakhine State, according to the Ministry of Commerce official.

Trade with Bangladesh remains tiny in comparison to Myanmar’s other neighbours – China, Thailand and India.
“It’s going to be hard to reach $500 million, even though Bangladesh has a large population and regularly needs commodities,” the official said.

“It’s unlikely that Bangladesh will be able to export much more commodities to us but we are able to export more fisheries and agriculture-based commodities,” he said.

This year Bangladesh has already asked to buy about 450 tonnes of parboiled rice at $480 a tonne through the trading point at Maungdaw.

Myanmar Rice Millers Association secretary U Thaung Win said the association had not heard of the order but said it was possible.

“Bangladesh produces its own parboiled rice but the demand is always greater than supply. Unfortunately, we’re only able to export up to 250 tonnes of parboiled rice a month until the end of year.

“But next year we will boost our production to about 1000 tonnes a month,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times