State Administration Council Vice Chairman Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win addresses Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee meeting 2/2023

State Administration Council Vice Chairman Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win addresses Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee meeting 2/2023

NAY PYI TAW March 29

    The Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee held the meeting 2/2023 at the Ministry of Commerce here at 2 pm, addressed by the committee chairman Vice Chairman of the State Administration Council Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win.

Also present were Union ministers General Mya Tun Oo, U Win Shein and U Aung Naing Oo, deputy ministers, Nay Pyi Taw Council member, the Revenue Appellate Tribunal chair, permanent secretaries, directors general and officials.

Chairs of region/state illegal trade eradication special teams took part in the meeting through video conferencing.

The Vice-Senior General said SAC and cabinet were reformed on 1 February 2023, and fivepoint Roadmap and Objectives were amended. The government is restoring national peace and stability, enforcing rule of law, developing people’s socioeconomy, and bringing about human resources. Likewise it established the Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee under Notification (43/2023) of SAC on 17 February 2023.

Illegal trade is the main obstacle in realizing the point, “To encourage micro, small and mediumscale enterprises based on domestic raw materials in order to substitute import goods and enhance export products to have longterm guarantees and create employment opportunities and increase domestic production” of the SAC’s four economic objectives.

Illegal goods that are coming into the country from abroad diminish a competitive market and hampers MSME development. Moreover, untaxed illegal goods lessen the competitive power of importsubstitute goods manufactured by MSMEs. MSMEs will never be on the rise in the absence of preventive measures, checks and legal actions against untaxed imports. MSME development mainly depends on thorough search of illegal goods and severe punishments.

The number of arrested cases in February 2023 was 477 and the estimated value of seized illegal goods was over Ks-12 billion, which was 61 cases and Ks-4.63 billion more than in January. When compared with the same period last year, the authorities could seize 230 more cases with an estimated value of Ks-8.86 billion. Thanks to the effective actions special teams of regions and states, the Customs Department and departmental OSSs had exerted in accord with the projects the number of seized cases increased.

Increase in the number of seized cases also indicates the volume of illegal trade that is still large. Hence effective antiillegal trade activities should be carried out with added momentum through coordinated efforts.

Illegal traders are taking loopholes and weaknesses of trade policies, orders, directives and procedures, the impossibility to inspect every cargo truck and security limits as opportunities in importing and exporting illegal goods through various means.

In the past, the inspection task was mainly based on staff strength. More staff members were used at the centres where trade volume was large. Hence, the extent of antiillegal trade activities depended on the size of the centre. Customs Department’s MACCS system, Trade Department’s Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 and QR Code system has facilitated the trade flow and added effectiveness to antiillegal trade activities. There must be a proper balance between the systems and staff in the inspection work to ensure effectiveness in the antiillegal trade campaigns. Hence, modern techniques as well as conventional methods will be applied in the antiillegal trade programs.

It is necessary to use containers for transport of commodities in order to reduce illegal trade while soonest implementing the elock system. Moreover, meeting participants need to discuss setting limited time for distribution of illegally imported goods to the market through wholesale and retail centres and shopping malls with public awareness, prevention, inspection and taking legal action.

The steering committee reviewed the cases on seizures within more than one year from January 2022 to date, mentioning that most of the cases were based on overloads of same goods and some were based on mixed trafficking of high valued goods with low valued ones. Hence, dutyassigned staff members need to eradicate and inspect the illegal trade measures based on their experiences and rationality.

Some businesspersons who do not follow the policies and procedures adopted by the government and wish to do their businesses in the illegal ways attempted to pass the checkpoints in illegal ways by approaching the ethnic armed organizations. Hence, those staff need to inform nearby region and state governments as well as relevant military commands about their difficulties in time for taking action against the offenders under the laws and procedures.

It is necessary to connect relevant departments and organizations to take action against those who carried illegal commodities which escaped for various reasons.

The Vice-Senior General stressed the need for both governments to coordinate illegal trade which cross the border not to enter other country as well as mother land. It is necessary to make preparations to effectively cooperate with neighbouring countries. Illegal trade is a problem not only for Myanmar but for all countries.

Hence, staff need to seek the best ways of other countries in eradicating the illegal trade and apply the appropriate ways for the State.

The staff assigned to eradicate illegal trade must be free from corruption. In the past, action was taken against the illegal goods. Now, trace to past events such as the route of these commodities, checkpoints and ways of passing these points are being investigated. Hence, those involved in the illegal trade in various ways will face legal action. Likewise, they all need to have security awareness and conscience and make preparations for security measures.

The Vice-Senior General stressed the need to take care of exaggeration of amounts in evaluating the seized commodities and assess the value of illegal commodities in a correct manner. Procurement must be done for seized commodities under the procedures and pay income to the state fund. If the seized commodities are damaged before action, efforts of those who seized these goods will be wasted and State finance will be lost. Hence, the departments taking responsibilities for seized commodities need to systematically supervise these measures.

The eradicating the illegal trade is crucial in implementing the five-point roadmap and objectives of the State Administration Council. The Vice-Senior General stressed the need to expedite efforts for eradicating, inspecting and taking action against the illegal trade cases. It is necessary to seek the ways for eradicating, inspecting and taking action against more illegal trade measures.

The Vice-Senior General unveiled that businesspersons will be restricted to use box trucks and containers in trading, applying modern technology, negotiating neighbouring countries and checking illegally imported commodities in the market through wholesale and retail centres so as to reduce illegal trade in the long term.

Officials of ministries, organizations, region and state illegal trade eradication task forces, relevant departments and UMFCCI are to report information about illegal trade eradication to the steering committee.

Secretary of the steering committee Deputy Minister U Nyunt Aung reported on accomplishment over the minutes of the meeting 1/2023 and undertakings of the steering committee.

Leader of the office staff of the steering committee Deputy Director General U Aung Thwin Oo, Director General U Han Win Aung of Central Statistical Organization, Director General U Thein Swe of Customs Department, Director General U Myint Thura of Trade Department and Deputy Director General U Win Lwin, Director General Dr Khin Zaw of Department of Food and Drug Administration and the chairman of Bago Region Illegal Trade Eradication Special Task Force read the letters to the meeting 2/2023.

Union Minister General Mya Tun Oo, U Win Shein and U Aung Naing Oo, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Aung Lin Tun and officials discussed eradication of illegal trade.

The leader of the office staff of the steering committee reported on the draft decisions of the meeting 2/2023.

After coordinating the reports and discussions, the Vice-Senior General gave a concluding remark.