Vietnam’s dragon fruit: Open door to Myanmar

10:19 | 29/03/2017 Trade

(VEN) - Myanmar has offered license-free imports of Vietnamese dragon fruit. This is an important agreement reached at the ninth session of the Viet Nam-Myanmar Joint Sub-Committee on Trade recently held in Hanoi and co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and Toe Aung Myint, Permanent Secretary of Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce.  

vietnams dragon fruit open door to myanmar

Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa expressed her pleasure at Myanmar’s decision to exclude Vietnamese dragon fruit from the list of license-requiring imports to Myanmar. Permanent Secretary of Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce, Toe Aung Myint, also pledged to exempt other Vietnamese products from import license requirements.

At the ninth session, the two sides evaluated bilateral economic and trade relations and achievements since the eighth session in 2015, while discussing measures to further strengthen economic and trade cooperation.

Bilateral trade hit US$548.3 million in 2016, up 26.1 percent from 2015. According to Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa, this growth is relatively high but remains disproportionate to the potential.

Last year, Vietnam exported goods worth US$461.9 million to Myanmar (22 percent more than 2015), while Myanmar’s exports to Vietnam reached only US$86.4 million, up 53.8 percent from 2015.

At the ninth session, Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa brought up cement as an example of untapped potential. Myanmar needs eight million tonnes of cement per year, half of which is imported, but Vietnamese cement exports to this market remain modest and are still disproportionate with the potential, according to the deputy minister.

Another element of under-utilized potential discussed by the sides is the East-West Economic Corridor that runs through 13 provinces of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and is designed to facilitate trade relations in the region. According to Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa, Vietnam and Myanmar haven’t fully utilized this economic overland corridor and most of their trade is still transported by sea.

On behalf of the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa proposed the following solutions: (1) to disseminate information in order to promote the role of the East-West Economic Corridor;

(2) to continue close cooperation in sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, such as the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS) and the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) forum to mobilize financial and technical support from developed partners; and

(3) to continue working with Laos on potential routes linking Hanoi to provinces of Myanmar and make them part of the East-West corridor, thereby paving the way for transport routes between Vietnam and Myanmar.

The January visit by Myanmar Minister of Commerce Than Myint and the ninth session of the Vietnam-Myanmar Joint Sub-Committee on Trade show that bilateral economic, trade cooperation in general and cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce, in particular, are being promoted in keeping with the two countries’ potential.

Nhat Quang