RANGOON — Export and import license applications will be available online as of June 7, according to the Ministry of Commerce, which hopes the move will help boost exports and shrink a persistent trade deficit.
Win Khaing Tun, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce, revealed the plan at the “Fully Online Licensing System” workshop at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) on Monday.
Applications will be available online for about 50 of more than 4,000 approved export and import items allowed by the ministry.
“Initially, we will offer online licenses for agricultural produce and certain types of building materials and consumer goods,” Win Khaing Tun said.
Applications will be available at www.myanmartradenet.com and the ministry is prepared to review and approve requests within 10 minutes, according to the deputy director.
The online licensing service will be available for both shipping and border trade, but applications will only be available for the Myawaddy and Muse border trade centers initially.
Myawaddy, on the Thai-Burma border, and Muse, bordering China’s Yunnan province, are the country’s busiest overland trade posts. The licenses will be offered in these towns first because of difficulties with customs clearances at other trade centers, said Win Khaing Tun.
A trial period for the online licensing service is scheduled to last three to six months, he added.
The move will help reduce corruption because it will eliminate paperwork and red tape, said Myint Soe, chairman of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturer’s Association.
“Companies need to hire two different people to apply for import and export licenses. They have to go to Naypyidaw, but if something is wrong with the documents, they come back to Yangon and then return to Naypyidaw again. Online licensing will get rid of all of this,” said importer Myat Thin Aung.
Minister of Commerce Than Myint said his ministry is hoping to triple exports over the next five years and plans to boost agricultural produce exports by encouraging the growth of small and medium industries.
Burma has suffered a trade deficit for years; in the past two fiscal years, the country’s international trade total has been almost US$30 billion but it has carried a deficit of about $5 billion annually, according to the Ministry of Commerce.