Union minister for commerce U Win Myint said the government will increase trade-route monitoring in Myanmar in hopes of meeting the country’s trade volume targets this fiscal year.
Myanmar is aiming to have a trade volume of $25 billion in 2014-15 FY.
Starting in July, anti-smuggling mobile enforcement teams has started inspections at Yangon International Airport and four other ports in Yangon region, which is in addition to the two sites already monitored by government forces.
The increase means the government’s mobile teams are inspecting a total of seven ports including the Htee Dan, Asia World, Myanmar Industrial, Bo Aung Kyaw and Sule harbours.
Authorities said anyone found carrying illegal goods in or out of the country will be harshly fined.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Department Director U Tin Ye Win said upcoming penalty increases in August could also see offenders facing up to three years jail time if discovered transporting illicit items.
“This will help reduce tax evasion and promote consumer protection,” U Tin Ye Win, told Myanmar Business Today.
Myanmar’s trade is comprised of 80 percent maritime transportation and 20 percent crossborder trade – where mobile teams have seized illegal goods worth over K 17 billion ($17 million) in value.
The country’s trade volume has increased more than $10 billion over the past three years, spurred on by a $6 billion increase in 2013-14 fiscal year.
Total trade output is expected to reach as high as $35 billion this fiscal period ending in March 2015.
The government will need to expand local markets for domestic production to meet Myanmar’s trade targets after imports have exceeded the country’s exports in the first six months of the year, experts say.