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Border Trade with India

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Title: Indo-Myanmar Border Trade: The Stakes for North East India
Date of publication: September 2007
Description/subject: Conclusion: "The formal cross border Indo-Myanmar trade has now been reduced to a mere trickle and virtually the entire Indo-Myanmar border trade is now informal in nature. The commodities imported through the informal channels are largely third country products coming from further east and south-east of Myanmar, mostly consumer goods manufactured in China, ASEAN countries or even Korea and Japan. In contrast, the informal exports to Myanmar from the Indian side are manufactured in India itself. However, it is worth noting here that very little of these exported goods are produced within the North Eastern region. The trade in its present form is thus useful for the North East region, for that matter even for Myanmar, only to the extent that these commodity inflows satisfy local consumption demand. But boost to production and income generating activities from this trade is minimal on either side of the border. The prospect of border trade between North East India and Myanmar is not as bleak as may appear at the first sight. As of now the growth of orderly and legitimate trade between Myanmar and North East India has been kept in leash by factors such as poor infrastructure and, more fundamentally, the rigidities and tangles in the trading arrangement and the over-valuation of Myanmar’s currency as per the official exchange rate. Once border trade is allowed to take place in a transparent and orderly manner, many dynamic economic forces may be unleashed on both sides of the border leading to opening up of mutually beneficial areas of economic cooperation. Apart from substitution of informal trade by formal trade, an orderly and liberalised system of border trade and transit can make Myanmar-North East India an attractive and economical transit route for trade between China and other East Asian countries on one side and India and Bangladesh on the other. Such transit trade may not directly result in enhanced production of goods in the two regions, but will surely generate spin off growth impetus to services like hospitality, transport and communication linked activities. Whether the North East India and Myanmar can get to provide similar transit route to trade between South East Asia and India is, however, a matter of some debate. (Baruah, 2004: p 23). The answer will critically depend on the comparative transport cost by the alternatives of the maritime route across the Bay of Bengal and the continental route through Myanmar and North East India..."
Author/creator: M. P. Bezbaruah
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Dialogue" July-September 2007, Volume 9 No. 1
Format/size: html (110K)
Date of entry/update: 27 February 2008