Myanmar and China have discussed raising the quota of rice that can exported to China from Myanmar says an official from the Myanmar Rice Federation.

400,000 tonnes of rice export to China market as legal quota, according to official.

The talks took place during the Second China Myanmar Economic Corridor Forum held in Yunnan Province, China. The Myanmar delegation to the forum was led by Planning and Finance Minister U.

The countries mainly discussed cooperation on the Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone, Muse-Mandalay railway project, and agricultural exports to China. Separately, Myanmar and China discussed rice raising rice exports to China to 400,000 tonnes.

In 2016, China permitted Myanmar to export 100,000 tonnes of rice and now Myanmar rice merchants are seeking to raise the quota by 300,000 tonnes.

U Nay Lin Zin, joint secretary of the Myanmar Rice Federation, said China is supportive of exports of rice and broken rice in the border areas and will take action to legalise such border trade.

Currently, Myanmar exports rice and broken rice to China through border trade, but the trade is not official and China’s government levies import taxes strictly for rice from Myanmar.

“Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China is trying to formalise trade with neighbouring countries. China should reduce import taxes if it wants to formalise trade. Doing so would only strengthen trade,” said U Nay Lin Zin.

During the talks, the Myanmar Rice Federation and SME Chinese companies also discussed barter-trade system for the rice from Myanmar and commodities from China.

Myanmar exported 1.7 million tonnes of rice and broken rice worth US$ 578 million between April and December last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Around 52 percent was exported by sea, while therest was sold at the border to China.

At those levels, rice exports have decreased by over a third from 2.5 million tonnes worth US$780 million in the same period the year before. The main reason for the recent fall in exports is lower demand from China

The Ministry of Commerce and Myanmar Rice Federation are now working on an action plan to increase rice exports. The plan includes improvements in production, quality, market information, and research, and connecting with new markets.