Trade volumes likely to fall short of $25b goal

But bilateral trade is growing across the board as new trade partners around the globe are taking more interest in doing business with Myanmar

Myanmar has only managed to meet 63 percent of its annual bilateral trade target of US$25 billion through the first months of the 2013-14 fiscal year, drawing doubts for the first time whether the figure can be met, officials said.

Total trade between April and December reached $15.8 billion, a marked improvement of 24.4pc from the same period last year, according to data released last week by the Ministry of Commerce. Nevertheless, bilateral trade is not on pace with the year-on-year target of 36.61 percent set by the government for this fiscal year.

“It’s not certain that we will hit the target,” U Soe Win, deputy director general of the department of commerce and consumer affairs at the Ministry of Commerce told The Myanmar Times.

He said that with four months to go, Myanmar has to make up the sizable difference of near $10 billion, a task that would require unprecedented growth in Myanmar’s trading sector.

“It is possible though as the next four months are the peak season for trading. We will be able to estimate more precisely in January,” he said, adding that he expects continued import growth from countries like China and Thailand and the EU in the next month.

U Myint Soe, chairperson of the Garment Association, agreed that despite growth in trading across the board, it was unlikely that Myanmar would be able to make up the difference in the next four months.

“I don’t think that they will hit the $25 billion target in the coming months. It is easy to see that,” he said.

According to government data, total imports reached $8.68 million from April through November, an increase of 38.65pc from the $6.26 billion generated during the same period last year. Exports meanwhile, reached $7.17 billion at the end of November, an increase of 17.92pc year-on-year.

According to U Soe Win, rice, beans, rubber and fishery products are among the most exported goods, while trade with European Union countries and the US has continued to climb.

Exports have increased by about $3.2 billion annually since the civilian government took office three years ago.

Source: Myanmar Times

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