Chittagong, Bangladesh: Burma and Bangladesh are proposing to use the Chittagong Port for trading purposes between both countries, according to a local trader from Chittagong.
Burma has proposed to use the Chittagong port for vessels from Teknaf, linking Burma’s Maungdaw Town in Arakan State to directly shipped goods, he added.
 
The matter was discussed between Brig General Maung Maung Thein, Minister for Livestock Breeding and Fisheries and the Adviser to the Bangladesh Commerce Ministry in Nay Pyi Taw recently, according to a Rangoon Times report.
 
Burma said the government had permitted its private sector to export rice to meet Bangladesh's necessity. It also pointed out that the government was undertaking many important communication linkages in the Western Arakan State, saying that transport facility and smooth flow of commodities would soon improve between the two countries through Arakan State.
 
Burma also proposed to establish banking arrangements between the two countries to promote trade, stressing the need for Burma’s Investment and Commercial Bank and the Burma Foreign Trade Bank, to have corresponding banks in Bangladesh, for effective and reliable payments, related to trading transactions.
 
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has highlighted the need to promote bilateral trade and change the trends of border trade to normal trade, revealing that Bangladesh wanted to invest in Burma’s agriculture and livestock breeding sectors, through bilateral cooperation, sources said.  
 
Another border trade point, Taunbro sub-town, under the Maungdaw Township is being planned by Burma in the state in addition to Sittwe (Akyab) and Maungdaw. It would be the only land border trade point between the two countries.
 
Currently, Burma and Bangladesh are engaged in more border trade than in normal trade. Burma exports marine products (fishes, shrimps), beans and pulses, wood and kitchen crops to Bangladesh, while it imports pharmaceuticals, ceramic, cotton fabric, raw jute, kitchenware and cosmetics from Bangladesh.
 
In early October 2008, during the visit of Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Vice Senior-General Maung Aye, the two countries decided on the purchase of 100,000 tons of rice from Burma by Bangladesh. Besides, Burma would import pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh, construction of a 25-kilometer trans-border road and delimitation of maritime boundary was also discussed. An agreement on evasion of double taxation was also signed during the visit.
 
According to an official source, Burma exports 23,000 tons of marine products to Bangladesh annually.
 
On March 3, a ship, loaded with Hilsa and Salmon fish, arrived at the Teknaf Land Port under the Masud Shah Futia Company of Chittagong. It carried about 30,000 bags containing 20 to 30 kgs of Hilsa and Salmon fish per bag, according to our sources.
 
Bilateral trade between Burma and Bangladesh currently stands at USD 140 million and both countries are struggling to achieve the target of USD 500 million for the next fiscal year 2009-2010.
 
The two countries formally opened border trade in 1994.