Friday, 13 December 2019

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India allows overland imports of Burmese rice

The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has announced that the Indian government is allowing rice imports via its Burmese border trade points.

Workers at a rice mill in Burma load sacks for transportation. (PHOTO: Mizzima)“Myanmar rice has recently been exported to India over the border,” the MRF’s Soe Tun told Mizzima. “We welcome the news that it is being allowed in legally. Rice exports, not only to China, but also to the Indian market can greatly expand our business.”

India is the second largest consumer of rice in the world after China. Although New Delhi maintains rice reserves, it has reportedly decided to permit rice sales from India to its northeastern states.

Speaking to Mizzima, Hla Oo, a merchant from the border town of Tamu in Sagaing Division, said, “Although India has reserves of rice, it is well known that Burmese rice is better quality than Assamese rice.”

Some observers said that while the Indian move will benefit rice merchants in Magwe and Sagaing divisions, those exporters in Rangoon, Pegu and the Irrawaddy Delta will notice little difference in sales due to their distant location.

But even with permission to export to India, cross-border transportation is all but suspended in the rainy season, said exporter U Myo.

Though most exporters do not believe the demand from India will ever match that of China, one economist opined that an improvement in India-Burma trade will ultimately help improve India’s trading ties with all ASEAN members, and that several Southeast Asian countries will begin looking at exporting produce via Burma to India.

Previously, 40 different categories of commodity were permitted overland through the Burmese-Indian border. However, in November another 22 commodities were added to that list.

Burma’s Department of Border Trade said that as of December 12, no less than 40 traders or merchants had applied for Individual Trading Cards.

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