Enhancing Friendly Cooperation in Bilateral Trade between Myanmar and India

Special Report By Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in New Delhi, India

Enhancing Friendly Cooperation in Bilateral Trade between Myanmar and India

Myanmar-India bilateral trade reached 1468 million USD in 2017-2018 which was a 24 percent decrease compared to 1943 million USD in 2016-2017. It was noted that the main reason for the declining bilateral trade is the decrease in the export of Myanmar pulses to India.

The year 2018 marked the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Myanmar and India. Both the countries not only have a long history of friendly relationships and cultural linkages but also share strong economic and commercial ties. It is rightly said that Myanmar-India relations are rooted in shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties.

From the perspective of bilateral trade, Trade Agreement and Border Trade Agreement were signed in 1970 and 1994 respectively, with the aim of increasing bilateral trade. Joint Trade Committee (JTC), Border Trade Committee and Joint Committee on Border Haats were formed between the two countries and the meetings of these Committees are alternately held in each country.

Institutional mechanisms such as Myanmar-India Business Conclave and the formation of India-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce are some of the significant initiatives that are enhancing cooperation and communication between the business communities of both countries.

India is an important and huge consumer market with more than 1.34 billion population and was the 5th largest trading partner of Myanmar in 2017-2018. Myanmar, therefore, pays favourable attention to bilateral trade and would like to diversify its exports to India.

Myanmar-India bilateral trade reached 1468 million USD in 2017-2018 which was a 24 percent decrease compared to 1943 million USD in 2016-2017. It was noted that the main reason for the declining bilateral trade is the decrease in the export of Myanmar pulses to India. With the purpose of enhancing bilateral trade, Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Marketing of Pigeon Peas, Black Matpe and Mung Beans is being negotiated between Myanmar and India since 2016. In this regard, Myanmar is very eager to sign this MOU and expects positive respons from negotiators on both sides in order to promote the export of pulses.

The 12-point economic policy of Myanmar government identifies the focus areas of export-led growth, private sector development, employment creation and poverty reduction. According to the Myanmar Investment Law (2016), investors can benefit not only from incentives and tax holidays but also from duty preference granted for products from LDC countries.

From the Indian perspective, Myanmar is the gateway to South East Asia and accords the highest priority to deepen trade and investment relations through bilateral cooperation and regional integration. From the Myanmar perspective, India is one of the major investors in Myanmar and agro-processing, power and infrastructure, IT, education and health care sectors are potential areas which will bring great benefits for Indian investors.

Presently the Government of India is paying attention to the Act East Policy and the development of the North Eastern Region. Mynammar and India can greatly benefit in this regard and enormous oppurtunities will be generated for the business communities.

State visit of the leaders of the two countries, mutual cooperation between the two governments and business matching between private sectors, strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries. During the state visit of India’s Prime Minister to Myanmar, the two leaders emphasised the need to improve market access by removing all trade barriers with a view to facilitate trade between the two countries.

The Central Bank of Myanmar issued foreign bank branch license to the State Bank of India (SBI) on September 27, 2016, and closer collaboration is being carried out between the two banks for better banking arrangements.

Myanmar places a high priority for infrastructure development for better logistics and transportation and Government of India supports grants and loans for infrastructure development projects, especially upgrading of road and bridges connecting its northeastern region, aiming to facilitate the movement of people and goods between the two countries.

Additionally, Myanmar and India are enhancing active collaboration not only on bilateral issues but also in regional organizations such as ASEAN-India FTA, BIMSTEC and BCIM. According to ASEAN-India FTA and Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme, products from both countries can get greater market access with duty preference.

Deeper and closer cooperation between the two countries will bring gains which will empower the future of economic development and bring prosperity to both the nations.

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