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Trade

  • Border Trade

    • Border Trade - general

      Individual Documents

      Title: The Role of Informal Cross-border Trade in Myanmar
      Date of publication: September 2009
      Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In a country where there are constraints in formal practices, informal activities normally arise. Informal practices are not necessarily illegal and bad, however some of them tend to occupy a grey area and/or are illegal in accordance with local regulations. There are costs and benefits in minimizing these informal practices in a country. While constraints and restrictions still exist in the formal economy, any attempt to crush informal practices may realize more costs than benefits. Reduction of these constraints and restrictions in the formal economy may gradually erase informal practices in most cases. In Myanmar, informal practices in trade have been in existence for quite some time. The main purpose is not necessarily tax evasion, although the tax levied on exports (i.e. 10 per cent on the total export value) is considerably high. There are a number of reasons for involvement in informal practices and these include, among others: to avoid the lengthy licensing process to import products without having earnings from exports to import/export products that are restricted on a temporary or permanent basis to evade tax Since economic sanctions were first imposed by the West in 1997, and further stiffened in 2003 and 2007, cross-border trade has become more significant due to the fact that direct imports from and direct exports to the West have become much more difficult. As a result, Myanmar has relied more on its neighboring countries of China, Thailand, and India, to where most products are exported for consumption and also for re-export to the West. It is noted that the value of Myanmar’s exports to China, Thailand, and India accounts for 66 per cent of its total value of exports in 2007–08. In6 Winston Set Aung come generated from cross-border trade has also become one of the major sources of income for Myanmar, while income from other economic sectors such as foreign direct investment and tourism has diminished due to various factors that include economic sanctions. Since cross-border trade has become significant, trade through the border points with neighboring countries, especially China and Thailand, has become more active. While natural gas, timber, and agricultural products are the major commodities for cross-border trade with China, Thailand, and India, the most common commodities flowing both formally and informally through border points (especially with China and Thailand) are timber, gemstones, fishery products, electronics, agro-industrial products, and clothing. Some timber, gemstone, and fossil products are not authorized for export yet still flow through various unofficial border channels. These products are also exported through formal channels by sea or by air freight with licenses issued by the Ministry of Commerce following approval by ministries such as the Ministry of Forestry and the Ministry of Mines. Hence commodities fall into both formal and informal categories of cross-border trade. Although the value of border trade (according to official statistics) accounts for only 7 per cent of Myanmar’s total trade value, the actual value of border trade is likely to be much higher due to the value of undocumented trade that flows through borders, which reached over US$1 billion in 2006. If this undocumented trade were to be included in official statistics, the value of border trade would have accounted for around 25 per cent of Myanmar’s total value of trade in 2006. Although cross-border trade plays an important role in Myanmar’s economy, there are still various constraints such as an export-first policy, licensing system, and high tax related to exports in conducting formal trade. This has led to a situation where informal practices have expanded drastically, especially in border areas. Brokers have become more systematic by incorporating trading companies and specializing in several sets of products. Licenses for exports and imports are issued by the border trade authorities under the Ministry of Commerce, whereas broker trading companies apply for such licenses in advance for imports/exports of their specialized products. As a result, individuals or companies wanting to imThe Role of Informal Cross-border Trade in Myanmar 7 port/export can do so by purchasing the license acquired in advance by broker trading companies, or on their behalf at a fee (that includes a documentation fee) that varies depending on the market situation and seasonality. Through these practices, trade turnovers have increased, trade facilitation has improved tremendously, and job opportunities have opened up for more locals in border areas. In addition to broker trading companies, there is another type of informal player that is normally called a “carrier.” These carriers are individuals who carry undocumented products, both legal and illegal, across borders and bypass all customs check-points within Myanmar until they reach their destinations. Although this type of activity seems to be a petty trade, the value and volume of such trade carried out by a considerable number of carriers could be high. These carriers mostly work under or together with broker trading companies. These informal players are local people from around the border areas (especially in the case of Kawthaung, which borders Ranong, Thailand) although a majority of them have migrated internally from city areas such as Yangon or Mandalay (especially in the case of Muse bordering Ruili, China, and in the case of Myawaddy bordering Maesod, Thailand). In the case of Muse, some operators of broker trading companies are related to those in Jiegao across the border, whereas the relationship of a majority of operators in Ranong (in the case of Kawthaung) is just that of a business partnership without having a formal contractual relationship. The increased flow of border trade both through formal and informal channels tends to have a positive effect on people around the border points. Interviews conducted in 2007 revealed that income levels amongst young men (under 21) have increased in line with improved formal and informal border trading operations. The chances of male respondents in the younger age category possessing increased incomes due to improved formal and informal border trade are high. Surveys and focus group discussions also highlighted that people around the borders have a positive view of increased border trade both through formal and informal channels and disagree with constraints, restrictions, and trade related policies that can be changed abruptly at any time. 8 Winston Set Aung The facilitating role of informal players is quite important in border areas, and any attempt to eliminate them could have an adverse effect on cross-border trade and people living around the borders. Existing trade policies should be tilted to incorporate measures favorable to the poor, so that border trade can not only contribute to economic development but also to poverty alleviation, opening up more opportunities for the ethnic minorities and disadvantaged in the border areas."
      Author/creator: Winston Set Aung
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Institute for Security and Development Policy (Sweden)
      Format/size: pdf (1.15MB)
      Date of entry/update: 19 February 2010


    • Border Trade with Bangladesh

      Individual Documents

      Title: Arakan Goes Mobile
      Date of publication: May 2006
      Description/subject: "Bangladeshi mobile phones flood into Burma’s Arakan State... Burmese junta-backed businessmen strike cross-border deals, and human rights workers can speak directly to witnesses at the scene—Bangladeshi mobile phones are slowly opening up northern Arakan State. Even the much-abused Burmese Muslims of Maungdaw Township are said to be developing a taste for mobile technology. The slow trickle of handsets that first began traveling east over the Bangladesh-Burma border at Teknaf and other crossings 18 months ago has now reportedly turned into a flood. Just don’t tell the local authorities you’ve got one..."
      Author/creator: Clive Parker
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


    • Border Trade with China

      Individual Documents

      Title: The other China boom - China's youth are driving a booming trade in recreational drugs, turning neighbouring Myanmar into a meth lab (video)
      Date of publication: 03 January 2014
      Description/subject: "China's youth are driving a booming trade in recreational drugs, turning neighbouring Myanmar into a meth lab. In a hidden corner of Asia, where two dramatically different and rapidly changing nations collide, a disturbing trade is taking hold that is endangering lives around the world. With money to burn, China's non-stop party people are turning to drugs in unprecedented numbers, turning neighbouring Myanmar into a meth lab and driving a resuscitation of the bad old days of big-time trade in the Golden Triangle's devastating narcotic heroin. The epic size and industrial scale of the new Asian drug supply is staggering. Intercepts of the methamphetamine Ice or the ingredients necessary for its manufacture are toted up in tonnages. But given authorities only manage to uncover a fraction of the trade that begins in Myanmar, and pours into China, a deadly dangerous drug is in overwhelming flood. Heroin and other dangerous drug traffic are tearing out of a newly unshackled Myanmar and into booming, cashed-up China, infecting towns and big cities that have not experienced a rampant, deadly drug culture before. Beyond China, narcotics and amphetamines are streaming out to western markets. Connect with 101 East Reporter Stephen McDonell takes us right into the heart of the tear-away trade, on patrol with China's drug police struggling against the tide of illicit drugs often carried by poor Myanmar mules prepared to risk everything for a couple of hundred dollars..."
      Author/creator: Stephen McDonell
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Al Jazeera (101 East)
      Format/size: html, Adobe Flash (25 minutes")
      Date of entry/update: 04 January 2014


      Title: De Kunming a Mandalay: la nouvelle "Route de Birmanie"
      Date of publication: March 2010
      Description/subject: Développement des échanges commerciaux le long de la frontière sino-birmane depuis 1988... "Ce papier analyse les relations sino-birmanes et cherche à rendre compte de la vitalité et de la complexité des relations commerciales frontalières. Pour cela trois niveaux de réflexions doivent être mis en regard. Tout d'abord, l'engouement pour les échanges commerciaux est mis en perspectives avec les objectifs stratégiques plus larges de chacun des deux pays. Les relations bilatérales sont motivées par des intérêts économiques et sécuritaires tels que la sécurité énergétique, l'approvisionnement en matières premières, la coopération en faveur d'un développement régional ou encore le désenclavement des provinces de l'intérieur. Ensuite, il est essentiel de décrire la situation politique et la composition de la population dans les régions frontalières afin de comprendre la relative fluidité des biens, mais aussi des personnes dans ces régions. La seconde partie de cet article dressera donc un tableau détaillé des zones frontalières sino-birmanes. Enfin, dans une dernière partie, nous soulignerons le rôle important joué par la population d'origine chinoise en Birmanie (même s'il ne s'agit pas des seuls acteurs des échanges commerciaux). Aujourd'hui, le renouveau de l'identité chinoise et des communautés chinoises est à la fois un facteur et le résultat du rapide développement des échanges bilatéraux."
      Author/creator: Abel TOURNIER, Hélène LE BAIL
      Language: Francais, French
      Source/publisher: IFRI, Asie.Visions 25
      Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.ifri.org
      Date of entry/update: 16 March 2010


      Title: From Kunming to Mandalay: The new "Burma Road"
      Date of publication: March 2010
      Description/subject: Conclusion: "Since the legalization of Sino-Myanmar border trade in 1988, flows of goods and persons have developed tremendously along the long frontier shared by these two countries. Reliable figures on bilateral trade, and to an even greater extent on migration, are scarce and contested. What is sure is that these exchanges are having deep consequences on both Yunnan and Myanmar. Some Chinese industries and workers, for example in mining, logging or jade trading, are dependent on access to primary resources across the border. A number of transnational issues affecting Yunnan province, such as drug trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS, have their roots in the Myanmar socio-political situation. With the planned completion of CNPC oil and gas pipelines in 2013, the strategic importance of the border will be further raised for China. Thus, China is expecting the upcoming legislative elections to bring about increased stability and development in Myanmar and the border areas while it tries to use its limited leverage to make that happen. China's relationship with Myanmar is often seen as unbalanced, with the former having the upper hand and being the only one benefiting from the relationship. As stated above, Chinese influence and presence in Myanmar is not only limited, it is also creating economic opportunities for Myanmar citizens, be they of Chinese descent or not. In fact, it is not on the border but at the central level that the problems created by Myanmar relations with China must be addressed. First, deep economic reforms are needed for Myanmar to move away from its overreliance on the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources to an improvement of agricultural, industrial and trade policies. Second, benefits stemming from ongoing projects between the Myanmar government and Chinese companies should be better shared with a Myanmar population that direly needs better health and education services."
      Author/creator: Abel TOURNIER, Hélène LE BAIL
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: IFRI, Asie.Visions 25
      Format/size: pdf (1MB)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.ifri.org
      Date of entry/update: 16 March 2010


      Title: The Yunnan Connection
      Date of publication: September 2009
      Description/subject: Closer ties between Burma and China's southwestern province raise concerns in Beijing... Yunnan, China's southwestern province bordering Burma, has always taken the lead in forging closer relations with its neighbor, usually with Beijing's blessing. But in recent years, this special relationship has caused some irritation among China's political leaders in the north...The Yunnan authorities understand that protecting the growing trade with their neighbor is extremely important to the province's long-term economic future. The provincial government recently drew up detailed plans to further promote border trade with Burma. This has included favorable customs and visa procedures, and streamlined bureaucracy. But there are fears that because of the low level of trade, there may be central government interference in the future...While Beijing may not be concerned about the official trade between the province and Burma, the central government there is more concerned about the unofficial and illegal trade that is taking place, in the form of drugs, timber, wildlife and human trafficking..."
      Author/creator: Larry jagan
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 6
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 26 December 2009


      Title: Where Money Grows on Trees
      Date of publication: August 2007
      Description/subject: Getting to the roots of Burma’s latest timber export trade... They had been rooted in Burma’s soil for many years, some of them for more than a century. Then the heavy excavation machinery moved in—and the trees moved out, across the border to China. Some Burmese nature lovers say the trees will be homesick, but for Burmese and Chinese entrepreneurs they just represent money. Lots of money..."
      Author/creator: Khun Sam
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 8
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008


      Title: A Choice for China: Ending the destruction of Burma's frontier forests
      Date of publication: 18 October 2005
      Description/subject: (Press release): "... Ending the destruction of Burma’s northern frontier forests" , details shocking new evidence of the massive illicit plunder of Burma’s forests by Chinese logging companies. Much of the logging takes place in forests that form part of an area said to be “very possibly the most bio-diverse, rich, temperate area on earth.” In 2004, more than 1 million cubic meters of timber, about 95% of Burma’s total timber exports to China were illegally exported from northern Burma to Yunnan Province. This trade, amounting to a $250 million loss for the Burmese people, every year, takes place with the full knowledge of the Burmese regime, the government in Beijing and the rest of the international community. Chinese companies, local Chinese authorities, regional Tatmadaw and ethnic ceasefire groups are all directly involved. “On average, one log truck, carrying about 15 tonnes of timber, logged illegally in Burma, crosses an official Chinese checkpoint every seven minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; yet they do nothing.” Said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness. In September 2001 the government of the People’s Republic of China made a commitment to strengthen bilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime, including illegal logging and associated illegal trade. However, since then, illegal imports of timber across the Burma-China border have actually increased by 60%. “A few Chinese businessmen, backed by the authorities in Yunnan Province, are completely undermining Chinese government initiatives to combat illegal logging. Not only are the activities of these loggers jeopardising the prospect of sustainable development in northern Burma they are also breaking Chinese law.” Said Buckrell."... Download as Word (english 2.0 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution 6.9 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 1 1.6 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 2 1.5 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 3 1.2 Mb) | Word (chinese 2.5 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution 7.8 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution - part 1 4.0 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution - part 2 2.9 Mb) | PDF (chinese - appendices 2.1 Mb) | Word (burmese - press release 47 Kb) | Word (chinese - press release 29 Kb) | Word (burmese - executive summary 51 Kb) In September 2004 EU member states called for the European Commission to produce “…specific proposals to address the issue of Burmese illegal logging…” Later, in October, the European Council expressed support for the development of programmes to address, “the problem of non-sustainable, excessive logging” that resulted in deforestation in Burma. To date, the EU has done next to nothing. “Like China, the EU has so far failed the Burmese people. How many more livelihoods will be destroyed before the Commission and EU member states get their act together?” Asked Buckrell. It is essential that the Chinese government stops timber imports across the Burma-China border, with immediate effect, and until such time sufficient safeguards are in place that can guarantee legality of the timber supply. The Chinese authorities should also take action against companies and officials involved in the illegal trade. Global Witness is calling for the establishment of a working group to facilitate measures to combat illegal logging, to ensure equitable, transparent and sustainable forest management, and to promote long-term development in northern Burma. “It is vitally important that all stakeholders work together to end the rampant destruction of Burma’s forests and to ensure that the necessary aid and long-term investment reach this impoverished region.” Said Jon Buckrell.
      Language: Burmese, Chinese, English,
      Source/publisher: Global Witness
      Format/size: pdf, Word
      Alternate URLs: http://globalwitness.org
      Date of entry/update: 18 October 2005


      Title: An Overview of the Market Chain for China's Timber Product Imports from Myanmar
      Date of publication: 2005
      Description/subject: This article on China's forest trade with Myanmar builds on an earlier study by the same authors: “Navigating the Border: An Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade” [link]. The analysis in this study moves on to identify priority issues along the market chain of the timber trade from the Yunnan-Myanmar border to Guangdong Province and Shanghai on China’s eastern seaboard. Give the increased intensity of logging in northern Myanmar after the introduction of stringent limits on domestic timber production in China in 1998, the authors argue it is now downstream buyers on China’s eastern seaboard who are driving the timber business along the Yunnan Myanmar border. While the boom in the timber business has provided income generating opportunities for many, from villagers in Myanmar to Chinese migrant businessmen, forests that can be cost-effectively harvested in Myanmar along its border with Yunnan are in increasingly short supply. This entails a need to explore priority areas such as transitioning border residents away from a reliance on the timber industry, assessing and mitigating the cross-border ecological damage from logging in Kachin and Shan States, and developing a more sustainable supply of timber in Yunnan through improving state plantations and collective forest management.
      Author/creator: Fredrich Kahrl, Horst Weyerhaeuser, Su Yufang
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Forest Trends, Center for International Forestry Research, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
      Format/size: pdf (1.05 MB)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/doc_152.pdf
      http://www.forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=152
      Date of entry/update: 18 August 2010


      Title: Navigating the Border: An Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade
      Date of publication: 2004
      Description/subject: Summary: China’s trade in timber products with Myanmar grew substantially from 1997-2002, from 295,474 m3 (round wood equivalent, RWE) in 1997 to 947,765 m3 (RWE) in 2002. Despite increased volume, timber product imports from Myanmar comprised only 2.5% of China’s total timber product imports from 1997-2002. However, the small fraction of total imports masks two important features: i) timber imports from Myanmar are primarily logged in slow-growing natural forests in northern Myanmar; and ii) logging activities that support the China-Myanmar timber trade are increasingly concentrated along the border in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State. This greater concentration of the timber trade has begun to have substantial ecological and socio-economic impacts within China’s borders. The majority of China’s timber product imports from Myanmar are shipped overland through neighboring Yunnan Province – 88% of all imports from 1997-2002 according to China’s national customs statistics. Of these, more than 75% of timber product inflows passed through the three prefectures in northwest Yunnan that border Kachin State. Most of these logging activities are currently concentrated in three areas — Pianma Township (Nujiang Prefecture), Yingjiang County (Dehong Prefecture), and Diantan Township (Baoshan Municipality). Logging that sustains the timber industry along Yunnan’s border with Kachin State is done by Chinese companies that are operating in Myanmar but are based along the border in China. Logging activities in Kachin State, from actual harvesting to road building, are almost all carried out by Chinese citizens. Although the volume of China’s timber product imports from Myanmar is small by comparison, the scale of logging along the border is considerable, and border townships and counties have become over-reliant on the timber trade as a primary means of fiscal revenue. As the costs of logging in Myanmar rise, this situation is increasingly becoming economically unsustainable, and shifts in the timber industry will have significant implications for the future of Yunnan’s border region. Importantly, a large proportion of logging and timber processing along the border is both managed and manned by migrant workers. Because of companies’ and workers’ low level of embeddedness in the local economy, border village communities are particularly vulnerable to swings in the timber trade. More broadly, timber trade has done little to promote sustained economic growth along the China-Myanmar border as profits, by and large, have not been redirected into local economies. In addition to socio-economic pressures, the combination of insufficient regulation in China and political instability in northern Myanmar has exacted a high ecological price. The uncertain regulatory and contractual environment has oriented the border logging industry toward short-term harvesting and profits, rather than investments in longer-term timber production. Degradation in Myanmar’s border forests will have an impact on China’s forests, as wildlife, pest and disease management, forest fire prevention and containment, and controlling natural disasters caused by soil erosion all become increasingly difficult. While political reform in northern Myanmar is a precondition for improved regulation and management of Myanmar’s forests, the Chinese government has a series of economic, trade, security and environmental policy options that it could pursue to ensure its own ecological security and enhance the socio-economic benefits of trade. Potential avenues explored in this analysis include: i) promoting longer-term border trade and distributing benefits from the timber trade, ii) improving border control and industry regulation, iii) enhancing environmental security and strengthening environmental cooperation, and iv) exploring flexibility in the logging ban... TABLE OF CONTENTS: LOGGING IN MYANMAR: A BACKGROUND; MYANMAR’S FORESTS; BASIC TRADE; GEOGRAPHY; AN ANALYSIS OF AGGREGATE IMPORT STATISTICS, 1997-2002; THE LOGGING BAN IN YUNNAN; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: INTRODUCTION; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: EXTRACTION; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: PROCESSING; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: DISTRIBUTION AND EXPORT; TIMBER TRADE TRENDS BY PREFECTURE; BORDER AND TRADE ADMINISTRATION: CHINA; FOREST AND TRADE ADMINISTRATION: MYANMAR; DEVELOPMENTS WITH POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHINA-MYANMAR TIMBER TRADE; CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS; REFERENCES.
      Author/creator: Fredrich Kahrl, Horst Weyerhaeuser, Su Yufang
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Forest Trends, World Agroforestry Centre
      Format/size: pdf (1.28MB)
      Alternate URLs: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:x5pqY-71SO8J:147.202.71.177/~foresttr/publicat...
      Date of entry/update: 18 August 2010


      Title: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS: The uncertain future of Burma’s forests
      Date of publication: October 2003
      Description/subject: A Briefing Document by Global Witness. October 2003... Table of Contents... Recommendations... Introduction... Summary: Natural Resources and Conflict in Burma; SLORC/SPDC-controlled logging; China-Burma relations and logging in Kachin State; Thailand-Burma relations and logging in Karen State... Part One: Background: The Roots of Conflict; Strategic location, topography and natural resources; The Peoples of Burma; Ethnic diversity and politics; British Colonial Rule... Independence and the Perpetuation of Conflict: Conflict following Independence and rise of Ne Win; Burma under the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP); The Four Cuts counter – insurgency campaign; The 1988 uprising and the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); The 1990 General Election and the drafting of a new Constitution; Recent Developments: The Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi... The Administration of Burma: Where Power Lies: The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); The Cabinet; The Three Generals; The Tatmadaw; Regional Commanders... Part Two: Logging in Burma:- The Economy: The importance of the timber trade; Involvement of the Army; Bartering; Burma’s Forests; Forest cover, deforestation rates and forest degradation... The Timber Industry in Burma: The Administration of forestry in Burma; Forest Management in Burma, the theory; The Reality of the SPDC-Controlled Timber Trade... Law enforcement: The decline of the Burma Selection System and Institutional Problems; Import – Export Figures; SPDC-controlled logging in Central Burma; The Pegu Yomas; The illegal timber trade in Rangoon; SLORC/SPDC control over logging in ceasefire areas... Ceasefires: Chart of armed ethnic groups. April 2002; Ceasefire groups; How the SLORC/SPDC has used the ceasefires: business and development... Conflict Timber: Logging and the Tatmadaw; Logging as a driver of conflict; Logging companies and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Controlling ceasefire groups through logging deals... Forced Labour: Forced labour logging... Opium and Logging: Logging and Opium in Kachin State; Logging and Opium in Wa... Conflict on the border: Conflict on the border; Thai-Burmese relations and ‘Resource Diplomacy’; Thais prioritise logging interests over support for ethnic insurgents; The timber business and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Thai Logging in Karen National Union territory; The end of SLORC logging concessions on the Thai border; The Salween Scandal in Thailand; Recent Logging on the Thai-Burma border... Karen State: The Nature of Conflict in Karen State; The Karen National Union (KNU); The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); Logging in Karen State; Logging and Landmines in Karen State; Charcoal Making in Nyaunglebin District... The China-Burma Border: Chinese-Burmese Relations; Chinese-Burmese relations and Natural Resource Colonialism; The impact of logging in China; The impact of China’s logging ban; The timber trade on the Chinese side of the border... Kachin State: The Nature of Conflict in Kachin State; The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO); Jade and the KIA’s insurgent Economy; Dabak and Mali Hydroelectric Power Projects; The New Democratic Army (Kachin) (NDA(K)); The Kachin Defence Army (KDA); How the ceasefires have affected insurgent groups in Kachin State; HIV/AIDS and Extractive Industries in Kachin State ; Logging in Kachin State; Gold Mining in Kachin State; The N’Mai Hku (Headwaters) Project; Road Building in Kachin State... Wa State: Logging in Wa State; Timber Exports through Wa State; Road building in Wa State; Plantations in Wa State... Conclusion... Appendix I: Forest Policies, Laws and Regulations; National Policy, Laws and Regulations; National Commission on Environmental Affairs; Environmental policy; Forest Policy; Community Forestry; International Environmental Commitments... Appendix II: Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG): Ministerial Declaration... References. [the pdf version contains the text plus maps, photos etc. The Word version contains text and tables only]
      Language: English (Thai & Kachin summaries)
      Source/publisher: Global Witness
      Format/size: pdf (4 files: 1.8MB, 1.4MB, 2.0MB, 2.1MB) 126 pages
      Alternate URLs: http://www.globalwitness.org
      http://asiantribune.com/news/2003/10/10/conflict-interests-uncertain-future-burmas-forests
      Date of entry/update: 20 July 2010


    • Border Trade with India

      Individual Documents

      Title: Indo-Myanmar Border Trade: The Stakes for North East India
      Date of publication: September 2007
      Description/subject: Conclusion: "The formal cross border Indo-Myanmar trade has now been reduced to a mere trickle and virtually the entire Indo-Myanmar border trade is now informal in nature. The commodities imported through the informal channels are largely third country products coming from further east and south-east of Myanmar, mostly consumer goods manufactured in China, ASEAN countries or even Korea and Japan. In contrast, the informal exports to Myanmar from the Indian side are manufactured in India itself. However, it is worth noting here that very little of these exported goods are produced within the North Eastern region. The trade in its present form is thus useful for the North East region, for that matter even for Myanmar, only to the extent that these commodity inflows satisfy local consumption demand. But boost to production and income generating activities from this trade is minimal on either side of the border. The prospect of border trade between North East India and Myanmar is not as bleak as may appear at the first sight. As of now the growth of orderly and legitimate trade between Myanmar and North East India has been kept in leash by factors such as poor infrastructure and, more fundamentally, the rigidities and tangles in the trading arrangement and the over-valuation of Myanmar’s currency as per the official exchange rate. Once border trade is allowed to take place in a transparent and orderly manner, many dynamic economic forces may be unleashed on both sides of the border leading to opening up of mutually beneficial areas of economic cooperation. Apart from substitution of informal trade by formal trade, an orderly and liberalised system of border trade and transit can make Myanmar-North East India an attractive and economical transit route for trade between China and other East Asian countries on one side and India and Bangladesh on the other. Such transit trade may not directly result in enhanced production of goods in the two regions, but will surely generate spin off growth impetus to services like hospitality, transport and communication linked activities. Whether the North East India and Myanmar can get to provide similar transit route to trade between South East Asia and India is, however, a matter of some debate. (Baruah, 2004: p 23). The answer will critically depend on the comparative transport cost by the alternatives of the maritime route across the Bay of Bengal and the continental route through Myanmar and North East India..."
      Author/creator: M. P. Bezbaruah
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "Dialogue" July-September 2007, Volume 9 No. 1
      Format/size: html (110K)
      Date of entry/update: 27 February 2008


    • Border Trade with Thailand

      Individual Documents

      Title: INFORMAL TRADE AND UNDERGROUND ECONOMY IN MYANMAR - COSTS AND BENEFITS
      Date of publication: June 2011
      Description/subject: Contents: Foreword... Executive summary ... Introduction... 1 - Objective .... 2 - Methodology.... Part 1 - Myanmar’s cross-border trade.... 1 - Impact of sanctions on cross-border trade.... 2 - Local perceptions of cross-border trade.... 3 - The context of informal/illegal cross-border trade .... 4 - Illegal versus illicit products.... 5 - Costs and benefits of informal cross-border trade.... 6 - Case studies related to cross-border trade and its effects...... Part 2 - Cross-border mobility and human smuggling from Myanmar: 1 - Illegal border crossings... 2 - Causes and effects of cross-border mobility.... 3 - Costs and benefits of mobility .... Conclusion.....Executive summary: "Myanmar, the second biggest country in terms of area in mainland South East Asia, borders five neighboring countries: China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and Lao PDR. Myanmar’s longest borders are with China (approximately 1,357 miles) and Thailand (approximately 1,314 miles), and it shares coastal waters with Malaysia and Singapore. Being a member of at least nine Asia and Pacific inter-governmental organizations that include the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Upper Mekong Commercial Navigation, the Asia Pacific Fishery Commission, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar is actively involved in various economic cooperation programs. However, the pace of Myanmar’s economic development still lags behind that of other members in these organizations. In addition, informal activities and informal moment of goods and people have been quite significant due to many factors. Although various policy measures have been developed to mitigate these informal activities, there has not been any study regarding the sources of these informal activities, their costs and benefits, impacts and consequences of the existence and nonexistence of these activities, or how these activities could be mitigated without having significant negative economic and social impacts on the local people and the economy as the whole. Without knowing causes and effects, costs and benefits, and factors behind informal activities, it is not simple to come up with restrictive policies to control them. In some cases, restrictive policies have caused severe adverse social and economic impacts on the community. Hence, it is very important that proper research is conducted in order to identify multidimensional issues that could effectively be addressed by multidimensional policies through close cooperation among the stakeholders. This paper attempts to identify factors behind causes and effects of informal flows in goods and persons across the borders between Myanmar and its neighboring countries, especially China and Thailand, and to address related issues and possible policy implications."
      Author/creator: Winston Set Aung
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Irasec (Carnet de l’Irasec / Occasional Paper Série Observatoire / Observatory Series No 04)
      Format/size: pdf (2.54K)
      Date of entry/update: 20 September 2012


      Title: Stranded in Midstream
      Date of publication: September 2010
      Description/subject: Once again, the flow of goods across the Moei River between Burma and Thailand has been brought to a standstill by bilateral bickering and Burma’s internal tensions... "Anyone looking for clues as to why Burma lags so far behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of economic development need look no further than the Friendship Bridge spanning the Moei River between Myawaddy, Burma, and Mae Sot, Thailand..."
      Author/creator: Wai Moe
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 9
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 22 July 2012


      Title: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS: The uncertain future of Burma’s forests
      Date of publication: October 2003
      Description/subject: A Briefing Document by Global Witness. October 2003... Table of Contents... Recommendations... Introduction... Summary: Natural Resources and Conflict in Burma; SLORC/SPDC-controlled logging; China-Burma relations and logging in Kachin State; Thailand-Burma relations and logging in Karen State... Part One: Background: The Roots of Conflict; Strategic location, topography and natural resources; The Peoples of Burma; Ethnic diversity and politics; British Colonial Rule... Independence and the Perpetuation of Conflict: Conflict following Independence and rise of Ne Win; Burma under the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP); The Four Cuts counter – insurgency campaign; The 1988 uprising and the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); The 1990 General Election and the drafting of a new Constitution; Recent Developments: The Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi... The Administration of Burma: Where Power Lies: The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); The Cabinet; The Three Generals; The Tatmadaw; Regional Commanders... Part Two: Logging in Burma:- The Economy: The importance of the timber trade; Involvement of the Army; Bartering; Burma’s Forests; Forest cover, deforestation rates and forest degradation... The Timber Industry in Burma: The Administration of forestry in Burma; Forest Management in Burma, the theory; The Reality of the SPDC-Controlled Timber Trade... Law enforcement: The decline of the Burma Selection System and Institutional Problems; Import – Export Figures; SPDC-controlled logging in Central Burma; The Pegu Yomas; The illegal timber trade in Rangoon; SLORC/SPDC control over logging in ceasefire areas... Ceasefires: Chart of armed ethnic groups. April 2002; Ceasefire groups; How the SLORC/SPDC has used the ceasefires: business and development... Conflict Timber: Logging and the Tatmadaw; Logging as a driver of conflict; Logging companies and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Controlling ceasefire groups through logging deals... Forced Labour: Forced labour logging... Opium and Logging: Logging and Opium in Kachin State; Logging and Opium in Wa... Conflict on the border: Conflict on the border; Thai-Burmese relations and ‘Resource Diplomacy’; Thais prioritise logging interests over support for ethnic insurgents; The timber business and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Thai Logging in Karen National Union territory; The end of SLORC logging concessions on the Thai border; The Salween Scandal in Thailand; Recent Logging on the Thai-Burma border... Karen State: The Nature of Conflict in Karen State; The Karen National Union (KNU); The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); Logging in Karen State; Logging and Landmines in Karen State; Charcoal Making in Nyaunglebin District... The China-Burma Border: Chinese-Burmese Relations; Chinese-Burmese relations and Natural Resource Colonialism; The impact of logging in China; The impact of China’s logging ban; The timber trade on the Chinese side of the border... Kachin State: The Nature of Conflict in Kachin State; The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO); Jade and the KIA’s insurgent Economy; Dabak and Mali Hydroelectric Power Projects; The New Democratic Army (Kachin) (NDA(K)); The Kachin Defence Army (KDA); How the ceasefires have affected insurgent groups in Kachin State; HIV/AIDS and Extractive Industries in Kachin State ; Logging in Kachin State; Gold Mining in Kachin State; The N’Mai Hku (Headwaters) Project; Road Building in Kachin State... Wa State: Logging in Wa State; Timber Exports through Wa State; Road building in Wa State; Plantations in Wa State... Conclusion... Appendix I: Forest Policies, Laws and Regulations; National Policy, Laws and Regulations; National Commission on Environmental Affairs; Environmental policy; Forest Policy; Community Forestry; International Environmental Commitments... Appendix II: Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG): Ministerial Declaration... References. [the pdf version contains the text plus maps, photos etc. The Word version contains text and tables only]
      Language: English (Thai & Kachin summaries)
      Source/publisher: Global Witness
      Format/size: pdf (4 files: 1.8MB, 1.4MB, 2.0MB, 2.1MB) 126 pages
      Alternate URLs: http://www.globalwitness.org
      http://asiantribune.com/news/2003/10/10/conflict-interests-uncertain-future-burmas-forests
      Date of entry/update: 20 July 2010


      Title: La Thaïlande, cheval de Troie de la Birmanie: une alliance paradoxale
      Date of publication: January 2000
      Description/subject: "TROIS mois après la prise d'otages à l'ambassade de Birmanie à Bangkok - le 2 octobre 1999 - dont le dénouement pacifique avait causé la fureur de la junte de Rangoun, les frontières terrestres avec la Thaïlande ont été rouvertes. La fermeture, qui avait paralysé une partie de l'économie birmane, illustre la relation tumultueuse qu'entretiennent les deux voisins, de plus en plus alliés bien que souvent tiraillés par des intérêts contradictoires...Sous le sacro-saint prétexte du développement, et au nom de la lutte contre la crise économique, les Thaïlandais risquent de donner un feu vert aux dirigeants birmans pour poursuivre en toute tranquillité leur répression des populations appartenant principalement aux minorités ethniques..."
      Author/creator: André et Louis Boucaud
      Language: Francais, French
      Source/publisher: Le Monde Diplomatique
      Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


  • International Trade

    Individual Documents

    Title: Analysis on International Trade of CLM Countries
    Date of publication: August 2009
    Description/subject: Abstract: "Since their accession to AFTA, trade volumes of CLM countries have being grown rapidly while their trade patterns and directions have significantly changed. Recognizing the importance of international trade in CLM [Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar]economies, this study attempts to analyze the trade patterns of CLM countries based the gravity model. The empirical analysis is conducted to identify the determining factors of each country's bilateral trade flows and policy implications for promoting their trade. The results indicate that CLM's trade patterns are mainly affected by partner country's GDP, the difference between per capita GDPs of two countries, distance, common border, and presence in particular FTA. Their trade relations with East Asian countries mainly China, Japan and Korea have yet to be exploited to their full potential. These findings suggest that CLM countries needs to promote their bilateral trade with countries in close proximity and having large economic size and high consumers' purchasing power through accelerating their trade liberalization efforts in FTAs in progress."..... Keywords: CLM countries, ASEAN, East Asia, FTA, Bilateral trade
    Author/creator: Nu Nu Lwin
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies (IDE), JETRO
    Format/size: pdf (589K)
    Date of entry/update: 04 January 2010


    Title: Important information related to Canada's sanctions against Burma
    Date of publication: 13 December 2007
    Description/subject: On December 13, 2007 the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations came into force. Canada's decision to impose robust and targeted sanctions against the Burmese regime, including a ban on all goods exported from Canada to Burma, and a prohibition on the provision of Canadian financial services to and from Burma, reflect Canada's condemnation of the Burmese regime's complete disregard for human rights and ongoing repression of the democratic movement. Canada's sanctions are targeted at the Burmese authorities and not the people of Burma
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 13 October 2010