Tough Chinese COVID-19 Restrictions at Border Worry Myanmar Traders

Sandra Loyd

Cross-border freight policies put in location by China in action to the spread of the coronavirus are pinching Myanmar traders and truck drivers, who have actually voiced issue about the safety of their freight and charges enforced by the Chinese, authorities at Myanmar trade associations stated Friday.

Chinese authorities have actually limited their drivers from going into Myanmar and have considering that April 1 required Myanmar traders in northern Shan state to pay Chinese drivers 10 yuan each (U.S. $1.40) to transfer truckloads of rice and fruit from border crossings to regional freight centers.

The relocation followed a decision by China’s Yunnan province to close its border with Myanmar, prohibiting all vehicles, other than trucks, to cross, and to just allow Myanmar nationals whose identity cards defined that they were from the border town of Muse.

“Starting April 1, Chinese authorities restricted Chinese traders from entering Myanmar,” stated Yiyi Khine from the Muse border location’s Vegetables and fruit Traders Association.

” Formerly, Chinese traders crossed the border to examine the products at a center near the 105- mile border crossing in Muse, [and] they finished the trading there,” he stated. “Now, Myanmar traders need to send their cargo across the border and present the commodities to potential buyers.”

Truck drivers likewise state they fear that their vehicles will be harmed which their freight will go missing out on under the policy.

“The drivers are concerned that the new rules require cargo trucks to be taken over by Chinese drivers,” stated Win Aung Khant, chairman of the Shan State Freight Logistic Business Owners Association. “They are concerned that there will be damage or a loss of cargo.”

Many trucks in northern Shan state drive from the Muse trading center throughout the Shweli River and into Ruili in southwest China’s Yunnan province.

“The Chinese drivers take over the cargo trucks from the border gate to the cargo facility in Ruili in China,” Win Aung Khant stated.

Significant border crossing

The Muse border crossing is an essential border crossing for the passage of Myanmar’s farming and animals exports and for China’s equipment and building and construction equipment imports.

In Between 600 to 800 trucks from Myanmar pass through the crossing daily, and at least 300 Chinese freight trucks go into Myanmar, regional traders stated.

Myanmar traders state the guideline has actually increased logistics expenditures to the point that numerous freight truck owners and drivers are dealing with possible insolvency.

They desire Myanmar authorities to intervene and work out with their Chinese equivalents in an effort to reverse the policy, according to the trade associations.

Muse district administrators and border trade authorities went over the problem throughout a conference with their Chinese equivalents on Thursday, however stopped working to accomplish any development, stated a conference individual who declined to provide his name due to the fact that he was not licensed to speak with journalism.

The Chinese authorities concentrated on operate in the location associated to Belt and Roadway Effort tasks and their nation’s contribution of medical materials to Myanmar, he informed RFA.

Myanmar authorities have actually not enforced any restrictions on freight traffic going through its border crossings with China amidst the spread of the coronavirus.

The Myanmar federal government has actually limited tourists from China and in other places from going into the nation, though Myanmar people returning from abroad are allowed back in and based on a necessary 14- day quarantine to ensure they do not have the infection

Infection cases inch upwards

On Friday, Myanmar signed up 27 verified COVID-19 cases, consisting of 4 news ones, and 3 deaths.

Myanmar health authorities have actually released standards for people leaving quarantine centers to stay at home in self-isolation for another 14 days as a more preventive procedure, to keep 6 feet far from their family members, to use face masks, and to clean the hands after touching something.

The standards came as numerous people who have actually finished necessary 14- day quarantines are being launched from centers in various areas of the nation.

The relocation has actually triggered criticism from some that people are been launched too soon and with no laboratory tests carried out.

“Placing those suspected of having the coronavirus in quarantine is not enough,” stated Nay Oo from a self-help group in Sagaing area’s Monywa municipality that is keeping an eye on people who have actually returned from overseas journeys.

“The authorities should have done lab tests and blood tests on them, but, as we understand, the facilities have limited capacity, and there are limited budgets,” he stated, including that expenses for the tests might be divided in between the clients and the federal government.

“It would be better than observing them only during the quarantine, but it might not work,” he stated.

Reported by Kan Thar and Thant Zin Oo for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Equated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Composed in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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