Trade with Myanmar slumps as army crackdown continues in Rohingya region
Bangladesh-Myanmar trade through Teknaf port in Cox’s Bazar has been cut to half in wake of ongoing Burmese army operation in Rohingya region.
After a series of October 9 armed attacks on security forces in Burmese Maungdaw Township, the authority has kept one of the two border trade zones suspended till date. Meanwhile, following army crackdown has claimed lives of hundreds of Rohingya Muslim minority.
Amid the violence, former UN chief Kofi Annan is now on a fact-finding mission in Myanmar to probe the bloody army crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. Annan and his team on Friday arrived in the volatile northwestern Rakhine State, where an army crackdown has killed at least 86 ethnic Rohingya Muslims, according to government figures. Independent groups say as many as 400 people have been killed.
The Maungdaw township is located on the bank of Naf River which marks the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar. On Bangladesh side, Teknaf sub-district and adjacent localities house thousands Rohingya refugees.
‘Since the refugee flow started on October 11, no vessels came from Maungdaw port,’ Deputy Manager at Teknaf port, Syed Md. Anwar Hossain said to Daily Sun. ‘Usually were receiving on average three vessels daily from Maungdaw in recent months, which is closed now.’ he added.
But the port is still in business as another border trade zone of Rakhine state- Sittwe port is running. ‘On average two vessels are coming from Rakhine state capital Sittway daily, said Mr. Anwar.
Bangladesh imports timbers, fresh fishes, dried fish, bamboos, cotton, canes, cattle, goats, pickles, scraps, tobacco, dried chili, turmeric, batteries, leather, areca nuts, slippers, umbrellas, cattle and spices from Burma. The port manager said, ‘Fresh and dried fish, prawn, and bamboo are main imports which come through Maungdaw.’
Burmese export value through Maungdaw reached 3.6 million U.S. dollars as of mid-November in this fiscal year 2016-2017 against the targeted 6 million U.S. dollars, state-run media reported on Thursday.
The bilateral trade is largely in favor of Burma, as Bangladesh import large volumes of goods against exports to Burma.
In the 2014-2015 Fiscal year, Bangladesh exported goods worth Taka over 330. 21 million to Burma and imported items and commodities valued about Taka 2,790. 39 million. said yesterday. The port earned revenue about Tk 600.40 million including other corridor fees.
Bangladesh’s main export to Myanmar is cement, aluminum utensils, ready-made garments, cosmetics, plastic items, dried fish, melamine products, biscuits, jute products, soft drinks, jewelry items, kitchenware, ceramic items and steel.