Myanmar is planning to set up a border trade zone with Bangladesh in a bid to promote such trade with that country, the local Khit Myanmar Weekly reported Friday.
The border trade zone will be established at Maungtaw which will become another one of its kind similar to that in Muse called the 105 Mile Zone linking China's Ruili.
In September 1995, Myanmar and Bangladesh initiated formal border trade at Maungtaw of Myanmar and Teknaf of Bangladesh. Although the border trade agreement between the two neighbors has been in place for several years, due to the lack of infrastructural facilities, bilateral trade was not as boosted as expected, merchants said.
Until January 2002, Bangladesh opened a river port at Teknaf in the southernmost of the country, providing the shortest river link with Maungtaw of Myanmar thus facilitating their bilateral trade.
Currently, Myanmar and Bangladesh are engaged more in border trade than normal trade. Myanmar's exports to Bangladesh cover marine products, beans and pulses and kitchen crops, while its imports from Bangladesh include pharmaceuticals, ceramic, cotton fabric, raw jute, kitchenware, cosmetic.
According to local reports, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh reached over 60 million U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2005-06 which ended in March, up 20 percent from 2000-01's 50 million dollars. Of the total, Myanmar's export to Bangladesh stood 55 million dollars, favoring Myanmar.
The two countries are striving to increase their bilateral trade to 100 million dollars, said the Ministry of Commerce.
Besides border trade, Myanmar and Bangladesh also placed emphasis on maritime trade, signing in Yangon a technical protocol on coastal sea-borne trade between the two countries in July 2004.
Meanwhile, aimed at facilitating trade ties, Myanmar and Bangladesh have also planned to build a cross-border highway later this year to link western Myanmar's Rakhine state and Bangladesh's Chittagong province. The memorandum of understanding to build the proposed 133-kilometer highway to link Buthidaung in the Rakhine state and Ramu in the Chittagong province was signed in April 2004.