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An MP in Burma’s parliamentary lower house raised a formal question on Wednesday, inquiring what the government can do to help local merchants and farmers in northern Shan State who have been left without payment by Chinese trade partners. The unpaid amount total hundreds of millions of kyat.
Sai Win Khine, a Shan Nationalities Democratic Party member from Hsenwi Township, said the Chinese traders owed about 382 million kyat (US$382,000) to approximately 80 locals, including crop wholesalers and farmers.
“I received a complaint in August of last year from the locals, reporting that Chinese traders had bought maize and paddy from them on credit – but were then arrested in their home country and not expected to return,” he said.
“Local wholesalers and merchants to whom they owed money are now unable to pay the farmers. I raised a question in the lower house session yesterday querying what the government is able to do for them,” he told DVB on Thursday.
Responding to his question, Pwint San, deputy-minister of trade and commerce, said the Burmese and Chinese governments held a meeting on bilateral border trade last November, but stressed that black market issues will be hard to resolve. He promised that the government will create channels for them to legally trade their produce.
The minister has advised the merchants and wholesalers who have been left out of pocket to retain evidence of any deals in the form of shipping manifests and paperwork. He pledged to try to resolve the issue.