Trade at new Myanmar-Thailand border crossing hindered Trade at new Myanmar-Thailand border crossing hindered

Trade at new Myanmar-Thailand border crossing hindered

Trade at new Myanmar-Thailand border crossing hindered

A new trading post linking Myiek in Myanmar’s Taninthayi Region and Thailand’s Prachuap Khiri Khan province still fails to live up to its promises, said Myanmar traders.
They have complained about customs restrictions and bribery on both sides of the border.

“The Myanmar customs department issues official licenses and documents for trade, but the security forces at the Mawtaung gate still check the goods. They let us pass through only when we give them money, and the situation repeats at the Thai gate,” said a Myanmar grocery trader who declined to be named.

“If they do not want to promote trade here, they should just say it officially. When we ask the senior officers, they reply that trade is permitted. These obstacles are at the bottom,” he added.

The Myanmar government opened its side of the gate on May 8, 2013, so-called the Mautuang gate. The Thai government upgraded its Singkhon border crossing to a permanent crossing on May 23 this year.

Another merchant added that the Thai authorities often deny the entry of Myanmar merchants if they refuse to pay. In contrast, he has witnessed 12-wheeler trucks entering Myanmar, loaded with cement, engine oil and fruits. He also said that some officials told the Myanmar merchants that trade was not yet permitted.

Although merchants on both sides have expressed excitement to do business through the Mawtaung-Singkhon trading post, these restrictions have forced Myanmar traders to move to other border gates to do business.

Ahead of the upgrade of Singkhon crossing, Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Weera Sriwatanatrakul said that the Singkhon border crossing was designed to be a trade and investment centre of the Asean community. After a meeting with Myanmar officials and representatives from the private sector in May, both sides agreed to relax the entry rules to accommodate the increase in travel.

Source: The Nation

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