Myanmar continues to export seafood to China, despite COVID-19 hurdles

Published on
March 19, 2020

Despite the global spread of the novel coronavirus, Myanmar has been able to continue exporting fisheries products to China, its main market, The Myanmar Times reported 12 March.

China, the main market for fisheries products from Myanmar, officially announced the outbreak of the deadly virus in late January and Myanmar’s exports were slightly affected in early February as a result. But the impacts on fisheries products were not as serious as on the country’s agricultural products exports, according to Myanmar Fisheries Department’s head, U Myint Than.

About 4,000 metric tons (MT) of fisheries products, including pike, flounder, white pomfret, yellow pike conger, carp, pufferfish, prawns, and squid, were shipped to China through Muse border gate between 1 to 8 March. The exports were worth USD 3.12 million (EUR 2.8 million).

Another border trade route, the Chin Shwe Haw, saw shipments of 28.23 MT of fisheries products, comprising eel and pike conger, in the same period, with the export value of USD 72,075 (EUR 64,175). Myanmar restricted export activities via Chin Shwe Haw in February at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

Between 1 October, 2019, and 28 February, 2020, Myanmar exported fisheries products worth USD 415.3 million (EUR 370 million), an increase of 14.9 percent from USD 361.5 million (EUR 322 million) in the same period of 2019, according to Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce.

Boosting exports of fisheries products is one of the main priorities during 2020-2025 set by Myanmar government in its national export strategy, Eleven reported 14 February.

However, the government has given top priority to farming rather than fisheries, Myanmar’s fisheries department said, in order to meet ambitious goals for increasing the country’s economic production.

According to Myanmar Fisheries Federation Chairman Htay Myint, Myanmar plans to work with Indonesia, Taiwan, and China to increase its processing and cold-storage capacity, with the goal of gaining revenue of USD 3 billion (EUR 2.67 billion) from the fisheries sector.

Myanmar’s fisheries products exports in the financial year ending 31 March, 2019, hit a record USD 720 million (EUR 641 million) in value, Myanmar DigitalNews reported in September.

Photo courtesy of Sun_Shine/Shutterstock

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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