What Matters

China and Myanmar: The Decline in Trade Continues

By ISP Admin | January 11, 2022

What Matters No. 70

(This article is a translation of the original Burmese language version that ISP-Myanmar posted on its Facebook page on December 23, 2021.)

Trade between China and Myanmar trade has been in decline since the military coup . According to data published by the State Administration Council (SAC), the bilateral trade between Myanmar and China has dropped to US$ 380 million, the lowest value since December 2019. Border trade between the two countries has been declining since February and, in July, border trade reached sank to its lowest level since the coup. 

Why Does It Matter?

After the coup, the World Bank forecasted an 18 percent contraction of Myanmar’s economy and the UNDP warned that nearly half the population will drop below the poverty line by early next year. The UN estimated at least 14 million people will need humanitarian assistance and, of those, six million will need emergency assistance in 2022. As Myanmar’s people face the twin crises of a rapidly shrinking economy and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the adverse effects on society and the economy are now predicted to be worse than previously thought.

The effect of Myanmar’s economic crisis, and western economic sanctions, on foreign trade will have a major impact on Myanmar’s economic and democratic reforms. It is worth nothing that economic statistics can provide the international community with a lot of useful information, creating the potential to better highlight the role foreign countries can play in Myanmar’s democratization efforts. 

Other relevant readings 

Domestic and foreign trade statistics are available on the official website of the Ministry of Commerce on a monthly and yearly basis, as well as trade valuations from the same period. In addition, the figures and statistics from the World Bank and the annual reports released by the Asian Development Bank are available for comparison. 

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