Thailand, Myanmar swiftly resolve trade dispute

Myawaddy – Border authorities in Myawaddy banned imports of all goods from Thailand in response to Thailand’s ban on fuel exports to Myanmar on the morning of March 24.

“The fuel export ban was imposed by lower authorities. Myanmar banned all Thai goods so that senior Thai authorities would learn what happened. We decided to ban their imports as they always impose such bans on us,” said Major Naing Maung Zaw from the No 3 Border Guard Force (BGF).

Myanmar’s towns and villages in the border regions experienced fuel shortages in the wake of Thailand’s ban on fuel exports to Myanmar. Sources say Kayin ethnic forces collaborated with Myanmar authorities to enforce the ban on Thai imports to increase the pressure on Thailand to reverse its fuel export ban.

“The prices of consumer goods jumped because fuel prices were high,” said the major.

Thai officials and traders held a meeting at the Mae Sot municipal office yesterday and decided to allow the export of fuel to Myanmar once again.

Myanmar officials subsequently allowed the import of products from Thailand yesterday evening as Thailand lifted the ban on fuel exports, said the major.

People from Myawaddy are dependent on fuel from Thailand, and they have endured fuel shortages since Thailand shut down the fuel pipelines across the Moei River. The Myawaddy Friendship Bridge only accommodates small and medium sized fuel tankers.