SHAN STATE, Myanmar - According to traders in the Shan State, border trade with Myanmar, which the Chinese government shut down to stem the spread of Covid-19, is expected to reopen under new restrictions.
The Kyin San Kyawt gate, one of five major trading gates, is set to reopen on Friday after being closed since July 8, according to Sai Khin Maung, vice-chair of the Muse Fruit Wholesale Centre Sai Khin Maung told the press.
The remaining four gates, closed since April 2020, have not been given a timetable for reopening. As a result of the suspension, overland exports have dropped by more than $534 million.
To mark the resumption of commerce, five cargo containers from Myanmar and five from China would be exchanged through the Kyin San Kyawt gate.
"There will be Covid-19 restrictions such as using designated drivers [to carry the goods across the border] and disinfection procedures. We'll only know for sure how it goes when it finally starts," Maung said. "Because the other gates are still going to be closed, only some commodities such as beans, maize, and rice will be traded."
He also stated that more than 2,000 trucks carrying such dried items were stuck in Muse due to the closure of the borders; the five specified cargo containers will transport these goods from Myanmar to China.
The Shwe Lwei In Company has been permitted to carry the containers, and the cost of transporting products within the containers across the border is expected to rise from 800 kyats (US$0.45) each 48kg bag of rice to 1,600 kyats ($0.90) per pack.
Myanmar has traditionally used overland routes to export agricultural items such as beans, rice, and fruit to China while importing construction materials, electronics, and medicine.