Border trade restrictions lifted between Myanmar, Thailand

Trade at the Myanmar-Thai border has resumed after a two-week standstill.

After 12 days of only allowing six vehicles to travel between Tachileik, Shan State, and Mae Sai in Thailand as part of restrictions to contain COVID-19, both sides agreed on September 30 to resume trading as usual, said U Sai Sai, chair of the Myanmar Kyaingtong-Tacheleik Border Trade Merchants Association.

“Due to the pandemic, there will be a reshuffle of drivers and vehicles when passing between Myanmar and Thailand but there will no longer be other restrictions on the trucks from both sides. We can trade like usual now,” he said.

Trade at Tachileik, the border town between Myanmar and Thailand, had come to a standstill after Thai authorities on September 17 imposed restrictions allowing
just six vehicles from Myanmar to enter the Mae Sai trade post in Thailand. Myanmar drivers , who were also prohibited from passing through, had to switch places
with Thai drivers at the border.

Tachileik District Administrator U Myint Naing said the Thais had prohibited Myanmar drivers from entering through the border after cases began rising in Myanmar
but neglected to discuss the restrictions with their Myanmar counterparts.

The Myanmar side then reciprocated with similar measures, forcing Thai vehicles to register in Myanmar to transport goods. As a result of the restrictions, trade
losses were incurred on both sides.

Without any imports from Myanmar, Thai traders are estimated to have incurred up to THB1 billion in losses from September 17 to 29.

“Both sides have agreed to make bilateral discussions whenever there are cases at border areas involving public interests. They also apologised to us and assured us that this will not happen again in the future,” U Myint Naing said.

The driver shuffle system will still be in place when using Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge No.2 and trucks will commute between trade posts as usual.
Small traders will also be eligible to travel on the No.2 Bridge with small vehicles without limitations.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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