Myanmar exports rice to over 50 countries but more than 70 per cent of it goes to China alone, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Traders export rice to China via multiple border routes as well as shipping lanes but use the former more frequently. In the period April 2016- January 2017, the country exported 1.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice to earn more than US$ 370 million. But that quantity is less by about 150,000 tonnes than that of the same period last year. In 2015-16, the country exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice. The ministry is hoping that Myanmar will meet last year’s record since the commencement of government-to-government rice-trade deals. Sri Lanka is one such country that wants to import Myanmar’s rice under such a deal.
According to the Myanmar Rice Federation, five companies have won contracts for the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka by June 2017. Chinese authorities have, many a times, confiscated the rice imported from Myanmar at the border as smuggled goods due to restrictions on imports. Apart from that the Muse border trade between the two countries was halted temporarily due to armed conflicts between government forces and armed rebels in November, reducing the total export.