Prohibited goods still imported across Myanmar-Thai border

Restricted items such as propane cylinders, sugar, inedible monosodium glutamate (MSG) and beer are being imported from Thailand through border crossings, according to merchants.

The import rates of these items seem to be increasing, despite restrictions. The import rate for propane cylinders jumped 30 per cent this year.

“Propane gas tanks are being imported from Thailand because the gas price in local market hiked and have not fallen back yet. They are in high demand for cooking, especially for restaurants,” a restaurant owner said.

Food items like MSG, frozen chicken, betel nut and beers have been imported through the Thaungyin River.

“Prohibited items such as MSG shouldn’t be imported. The Thai government even declared that it could cause cancer. Everyone who studies chemistry knows about this effect. I don’t think Thai people consume MSG,” said a Myanmar national who has been living in Thailand for 20 years.

Last May, when the Thai army took over Thailand, trade at the Myawaddy border gate was shut down, putting the Thai-Myanmar trade flow in jeopardy. Since it reopened, the import rate has steadily risen.


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