China sugar import limits hit Thai-Myanmar trade
TAK: Trade value across the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border fell 9.8% in the first three months of this year after China imposed strict limits on sugar imports, affecting Thai sugar exports.
Mae Sot customs chief Wallop Wutipanich said exports through Mae Sot district to Myawaddy in Myanmar from January to March totalled 19.2 billion baht, down by 9.8% on the first quarter last year.
Imports totalled 1.61 billion baht, about 20% up on the same period last year. Most imported goods were agricultural products, Mr Wallop said.
The value of exports in the two quarters from October to December last year and January to March this year totalled 37.47 billion baht, down about 11%. The value of imports stood at 5.06 billion baht, an increase of 18%, the Mae Sot customs chief said.
Exports to Myanmar were mostly motorcycles, energy drinks, fuel, mobile phones and sugar, while major imports from Myanmar were peanuts, cattle and scrap metal.
A source said the drop in trade value across the border in the half year was likely the result of strict new measures on sugar imports imposed by China.
Previously, Thai traders had sold a lot of sugar to traders in Myanmar, who then re-exported it by land to China.
China, the world's top sugar importer, last year slashed the number of out-of-quota sugar import permits it issued almost by half, to protect domestic sugar production. Import duties for out-of-quota tariff sugar were reportedly increased to 95%.