Myanmar’s brief boom as a conduit for smuggling sugar appears over, as traders say Chinese customs are turning back shipments at the border, reported Mynamar Times.
Over the year to date, more than 3 million tonnes of sugar has been smuggled across the border via Muse and Chinshwehaw border posts.
But Chinese authorities recently began a crackdown on the illegal trade, disallowing cross-border shipments despite many local exporters having made deals with Chinese traders across the border, U Win Htay, deputy chair of the Myanmar Sugar and Sugar-Related Products Merchants and Manufacturers Association, told The Myanmar Times on October 21.
Most of the sugar exported by Myanmar is bought from Thailand and India and smuggled in to China.
Prices hit their peak at the beginning of this year, with tonne of sugar fetching 5300 Chinese yuan (US$783). But the price had slid to 4200 yuan (US$600) by April. A brief recovery to 4700 yuan failed to persuade Myanmar shippers the market was worth it, he said.
“The world sugar price is US$625 per tonne at the port. Exchange rates mean this is uneconomical. Though transportation charges are falling because of increasing exports to China, sugar prices have plunged by about MMK80 (US 6ȼ) to K50 per viss (1.6kg),” said U Win Htay.
Minister for Commerce U Than Myint said his ministry was aware of the problem, but that Myanmar and China did not have an official agreement on sugar trading.
International Sugar Journal