The Ministry of Commerce’s mobile enforcement teams have discovered illegal items in 120 containers this month, as they investigated containers held in port for more than 60 days.
Often, the illegal items were smuggled goods like reconditioned cars and roof tiles, hidden behind other products such as textiles and food.
Ministry of Commerce director U Win Myint said some containers have sat in the ports’ warehouses for over two years, with no importer claiming them.
“We have been informed that some trading companies have closed down, so they have no desire to claim the containers,” he said.
‘But others are unjust companies attempting to distance themselves from the contraband. We are contacting the owners, and we will announce soon why they can’t claim their property,” he said.
Myanmar’s trade policies are being changed to protect against unfairness and provide more convenience for traders, said U Win Myint.
Some of the illegal imports are also dangerous. U Win Myint said some of this month’s seized goods are vehicles which have obviously been in accidents, which importers aim to repair and resell on the country’s roads. This has been an ongoing problem, with government officials discovering in 2013 that five auto import firms were ordering broken vehicles to repair and sell in the local market.
The Ministry of Commerce’s Mobile Teams formerly enforced trade rules near the overland border areas. Last year they relocated to Yangon’s major ports, including Myanmar Industrial Port, Hteedan, Asia World and Bo Aung Kyaw, though enforcement officials noted they would be difficult areas to work in. A senior Mobile Team director previously told The Myanmar Times that the biggest trading companies generally operate through Yangon, adding they are well versed in tax dodging and often have government connections to back them up.
Source: Myanmar Times