High rice prices in Myanmar draw in illegal Thai imports
YANGON (Eleven Media/ANN) - Due to the high price of locally produced rice, illegal imports of rice from Thailand have spiked.
Due to the high price of locally produced rice, illegal imports of rice from Thailand have spiked.
“Rice from Thailand began entering the local market 10 days ago. It has been seen for sale in retail shops,” said Lu Maw Myint Maung, Co-Secretary of the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).
Although Myanmar officially allocated 80 per cent of its total rice exports to China, China illegally buys more, raising the price of Myanmar-grown rice.
“If we export rice [to China] via Muse, that export is official. But China side buys unofficially. When they unofficially buy our rice, they don’t need to pay tax in their country, so they can buy more Myanmar rice with the money they save. Since tax doesn’t need to be paid for rice bought from our country, both the EU and China buy rice from us. As a result, the price of local rice is higher than in other Asean countries. Then they take advantage of it and enter our local market,” said Lu Maw Myint Maung.
Rice from Thailand is sold in the market in 50 kilogram bags, which are about 2,000 kyats (US$56) to 3,000 kyats ($83) cheaper than the best local rice on the market.
“The Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) and Asean Economic Community (AEC) have been intriduced recently. We should prepare our country’s economic data and policies to gauge the effects of AFTA and AEC. Regarding AFTA, we can’t protect the goods entering in accordance with free market and free trade principles. When they enter, our country’s competitive advantage, support and basic infrastructures need to be fulfilled, and the markets, which can compete with international prices, should be implemented. The Myanmar rice market will develop in long term only in these ways,” said Nay Lin Zin, Co-Secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).