Trade between Myanmar and other ASEAN nations has reached USD 9.9 billion this fiscal year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ministry of Commerce data reported by Xinhua News, and briefly reported in our Highlights section last week. Since the start of the 2019-2020 fiscal year in October, Myanmar imported USD 3.6 billion of goods and exported USD 3.6 billion, the data showed. Thailand was the largest ASEAN trade partner with USD 3.9 billion worth of exchange, followed by Singapore with USD 3.1 billion.
The amount of trade is higher than many analysts expected after COVID-19 first began to take its toll on both imports and exports. In particular, border closures were reported to have affected trade with Thailand, Myanmar’s largest overland ASEAN trade partner. Yet this month, the Ministry of Commerce actually reported an increase in trade, at least for exports, which has grown by around USD 2 billion in the current fiscal year. U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, told the Myanmar Times that agricultural products have accounted for much of the export boost, with Myanmar expanding its non-Chinese customers, especially for Thailand, India and Bangladesh. Agriculture exports with China have fallen around USD 107 million compared to the same time last year, U Khin Maung Lwin continued. Apparently Myanmar has turned to its fellow ASEAN members to fill the gap.