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Published on Friday, 18 January 2013 21:06
Almost two months after the Border Trade Department began issuing Individual Trade Cards (ITC) to merchants at three key border towns; the department has released official data showing that imports at these sites are 10 times higher than exports.
Combined trade by registered merchants at the three towns totaled nearly US$130,000, with imports comprising the lion’s share: $117,647.
Exports totaled $10,588, the department said.
The data is the first of its kind and signals a shift towards more regulated trade at border towns, which will allow the department to obtain more reliable trade data.
It began issuing the ITCs at Tamu border crossing with India on November 21. It extended distribution of the cards to Muse, a town bordering China in Shan State, and Myawady, which borders Thailand in Kayin State, on December 1. As of January 12, 134 merchants had received the cards, which the Border Trade Department has said will allow it to curb illegal trade and protect consumers.
Under the programme, registered card holders can trade only in cash as bank transfers are not yet permitted. The department has said that it is planning to gradually expand this system to all border towns.