Traders encouraged to use renminbi, kyat at the border

Traders at the Myanmar-China border were encouraged to use the kyat and renminbi as the main means of commerce and exchange at a financial workshop organised by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), last week.

“As Myanmar’s main border trade partners include China, it is more efficient and economical to use the Chinese or Myanmar currency to trade instead of a third currency such as the dollar. This will also help eliminate currency exchange risks and facilitate business between buyer and seller,” said U Ye Min Aung, vice chair of the UMFCCI.

This comes on the back of a recent Private Sector Development Committee meeting led by Vice President U Mint Swe, during which businesses were encouraged to use their trade partner’s currency as the main means of exchange.

“China is our largest trading partner so it makes long term business sense to transact using the renminbi even if this is not yet the present practice,” said U Ye Min Aung.

According to the latest data made available by the Ministry of Commerce, trade between Myanmar and China from October 2018 to July 2019 totalled US$9.6 billion. It exceeded $11 billion in fiscal 2017-18.

ICBC, China’s largest bank, will also raise efforts to facilitate further Chinese investments in Myanmar. Currently, ICBC helps firms in Myanmar to negotiate and network with their investment partners in China, officials said.

ICBC is the first Chinese-funded commercial bank in Myanmar and one of the first nine foreign banks approved to operate in Myanmar during 2014-15. It opened its Yangon branch office in September 2015. The bank’s offerings currently include acceptance of deposits, lending, issuing foreign exchange issuing of guarantees and commitments, trading for own accounts and administering of payment instruments.

Source: Myanmar Times

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