Myanmar, Indonesia target $1 bn trade

Yangon, April 3 (IANS) Myanmar and Indonesia are making efforts to promote the trade volume, which is targeted to reach up to $1 billion in 2016, official media reported Wednesday.

During a meeting between Myanmar Minister of Commerce U Win Myint and visiting Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, the two sides focused on signing a memorandum of understanding on rice trade, said the New Light of Myanmar.

According to an earlier official report quoting the ministry, Indonesia has offered to buy 300,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar and more will follow as demand for Myanmar rice in the Southeast Asian member country is on the rise, reported Xinhua.

Myanmar's rice export to Indonesia reached the peak between 2001-02 and 2005-06 but was almost none after 2005-06 for various reasons.

Myanmar could only export 2,125 tonnes of rice to Indonesia in the first three quarters of 2011-12 but it sharply increased to 1.01 million tonnes in the same period of 2012-13.

"If that rate continues, Myanmar's rice export would hit 1.2 million tonnes, a record high in 40 years," a commerce official said.

Myanmar, which was once a major rice exporter, exported more than 1 million tonnes before 1956.

With bilateral trade standing $472.96 million in the fiscal year of 2011-12, Indonesia was Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner among ASEAN members after Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, statistics show.