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Mizzima: Burmese delegates failed t

Burmese delegates failed to turn up for Indo-Burma border trade program

New Delhi, April 11, 2000
Mizzima News Group

The three-day seminar-cum-awareness program on the Indo-Myanmar Border
Trade, which is being held in Imphal, Manipur State of India, entered
its second day without the participation of Burmese delegation. The
seven member delegates from Burma were supposed to come from Tamu
(Burmese side), about 5 km far from Moreh, the last border town of
Manipur. Mizzima News Group has learnt that Burmese authorities had
already informed the Indian authorities in Moreh that they would not be
able to participate in the program, without mentioning any specific

Therefore, only Indian participants comprising of traders,
entrepreneurs, and representatives of Manipur States? Commerce and
Industry Ministry and some non-governmental organizations are conducting
the deliberations in the program.

According to Mr. Bwi Jamani, Officer on Special Duty, Export-Import,
Indo-Myanmar Border Trade, Commerce and Industry Ministry, Government of
India, some of the main suggestions which came out from the
deliberations so far are: (1) to review the current limitation of
exchangeable items (22 items) of the border trade, (2) to improve
communication facilities and to develop Moreh to be a major trading
center, and (3) to reduce the current custom tariff.

Participants also suggested that there should be less check gates and
tax-collecting centers along the border route between Imphal and Moreh
in India side.

Mr. W Nipamacha, Chief Minister of Manipur, in his address in the
inaugural session of the program yesterday said that India has agreed to
import rice from Burma through border trade routes.

Manipur, with a population of about two million, is in shortage of rice
and it is currently importing rice from other states of India such as
Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. Mr. Jamani said that importing rice from
Burma would be much cheaper than importing from other Indian states.

Under the bilateral border trade agreement, which was signed in January
1994, total 22 exchangeable items are listed to be traded between the
two countries on barter system. However, medicines, spices, Stainless
steel and textiles are mostly exported to Burma while India imports
mainly food, electronic goods and garments.

The border trade, which was operationalised in April 1995, is currently
mainly conducted through Tamu-Moreh route and another trade route
between Rid-Zokhutha (Chin State of Burma and Mizoram State) is to be
operationalised soon. Some other routes in Manipur and Nagaland states
are also in the suggestion to be looked into for trading.

To boost up the border trade, Indian government has been organizing
seminar-cum-awareness programs on Indo-Burma border trade in Manipur
State since 1994.