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Trucks stranded at Mae Sai checkpoint as Myanmar squeezes cross-border movement


Hundreds of goods transporters have been queuing up at the Mae Sai border checkpoint in Chiang Rai province to deliver their products to Tachileik town in Myanmar after authorities in the neighbouring country tightened cross-border movement because of the Covid-19 pandemic.


Myanmar is allowing only six goods transport trucks per day from each side.


Phakamas Vierra, president of Mae Sai Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday (September 17) that over 600 trucks were stranded in Mae Sai district, on the Myanmar border.



Previously the Chiang Rai communicable disease committee had decided to allow up to 168 goods transport trucks from Thailand to enter Myanmar per day to facilitate cross-border trading amid the Covid-19 outbreak. However, after a sudden escalation in cases at home, the Myanmar government reduced the quota to only six trucks to prevent the spread of the virus.


“Limiting transport to only six trucks per day from each side has created a huge chokepoint on the border. On the Thailand side alone, more than 300 trucks per day need to transport their products to destinations in Myanmar,” she said. “Most of these trucks carry fuel, consumer products and agricultural produce. Some have started to sell their products on roadside in front of 2nd Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, as they are afraid that their products will get spoilt before they are allowed to pass.”


Cross-border trade between Thailand and Myanmar through the Mae Sai border from October 2019 to August 2020 was valued at Bt12.2 billion, with Bt10.8 billion from export of consumer products, fuel, liquor, cement, beverages, electrical appliances, cosmetics, steel products and diapers. Imports were valued at Bt1.4 billion, mostly from processed agricultural products, manganese, scrap metal and aluminium. The Mea Sai Customs Office has collected up to Bt23.7 million in tariff and taxes during the 11-month period.



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