Kyaukphyu, September 6 – an absence this rainy season of what locals deem almost-annual landslides along the Buthidaung – Maungdaw road has augmented the flow of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Myanmar through the border town of Maungdaw, border traders have told Myitmakha News Agency.
U Thein Htun, an exporter based in Maungdaw, says the 16 mile-long trading route is susceptible to blockages caused by landslides and other falling debris as it’s a road which primary cuts through the mountainous north of Rakhine State.
“It’s vital the Maungdaw – Buthidaung road is in good shape as markets and consumers on both sides of the boarder depend on it. The trade industry was hit hard in years gone by when the road became inaccessible; fresh produce couldn’t withstand the long delays, going off and rotting. This year, though, and profits from the import-export of basic consumer commodities are up two-fold thanks to the normal, steady flow of trade from an absence of blockages to the trading route,” he explained.
The Maungdaw – Buthidaung road is reportedly a long-standing primary trade route which significantly facilitates the bilateral trade of goods to-and-from Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“The road hasn’t been marred by any problems this year, doubling border trade compared with the 2015-16 fiscal year. We had more trade in the first five months of this fiscal year than the same period of 2015. That said, the flow of trade for this year is still yet to fully reach that of anticipated forecasts,” U Thar Htun Sein, assistance director of Border Trade Association (BTA) for Maungdaw, told Myitmakha News Agency.
However, while industry insiders are quick to praise volumes of trade between April-August of this fiscal year overtaking that of the same period during 2015-16, the extent of which figures are actually up is notably absent from the equation.
The majority of goods exported through the Maungdaw border town to Bangladesh include regionally-caught seafood and agricultural products, while beauty and consumer goods are the primary products imported into Myanmar from the other side of the border, according to the BTA for Maungdaw.