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Hope for Banana Trade as China Border Ports Reopen in Myanmar and Laos

November 22, 2021

News has recently surfaced online that the previously closed Mohan–Boten land border port between China and Laos has begun allowing entry to Laotian returnees while the port’s customs officials have started accepting some cargo on a trial basis. In addition, two land ports between China and Myanmar are also on the verge of reopening, namely, the Mengding Qingshuihe Port between Yunnan province and Shan state and the Houqiao–Kambaiti Port between Yunnan province and Kachin state.

On Nov. 10, the relevant authorities in China’s Yunnan province announced a plan for gradually resuming customs operations for cargo crossing at local land border ports, taking into account the current port management situations and epidemic prevention and control facilities and protocols.

The official notice indicated that ports would be evaluated in four successive groups. The first group included ports such as Qingshuihe, the Mohan Expressway and Houqiao Port in Tengchong County (including nearby Diantan Port). At the same time, authorities will also be conducting a risk assessment for SARS-CoV-2 viral contamination on dragon fruit entering China through the Hekou Expressway Port and Tianbao Port. Once this first group of ports is operational and the risk of viral contamination on imported goods is effectively under control, assessments will begin for the next batch of ports.

The second group of ports includes the high-volume ports of Wanding (including Mangman), Zhangfeng (including Lameng), Guanlei, Menglian (including Mangxin), Mandong and Mengman. The third group to be evaluated includes the ports of Daluo, Nansan, Yingjiang, Pianma and Yonghe, while the fourth group includes the ports of Longdao, Leiyun, Zhongshan, Manghai, Mangka and Manzhuang, which typically process large volumes of imported agricultural produce.

Earlier this year, the impacts of the pandemic saw the closure of seven overland Myanmar–China border ports between April 7 and July 8. On Oct. 6, the authorities also announced the closure of Qingshuihe Port, the last border port between the two countries that was still operational. In early October, the Mohan–Boten land port between Laos and China was also closed down after a truck driver transporting goods across the border tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The port has now remained closed for over a month.

The successive border port closures have made it difficult for bananas from Myanmar and Laos to reach China, effectively cutting off the cross-border banana supply chain. In addition to this, an insufficient supply of bananas from China’s domestic growing regions has further exacerbated the shortage of bananas in China, causing prices to skyrocket in early October. Prices for premium-grade bananas from Guangxi province surpassed 4 yuan ($0.63) per kilogram, with high-quality fruit at one point exceeding 5 yuan ($0.78) per kilogram. Premium bananas from the Yunnan growing region were also fetching prices of 4.5 yuan ($0.70) per kilogram.

Around Oct. 11, as temperatures dropped and other fruit items such as citrus began to hit the market, prices of domestically produced bananas began to stabilize and they are now returning to normal. With the successive reopening of border ports between China and Myanmar and Laos, a large influx of bananas is expected on the domestic Chinese market.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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