Fading prospects for Myanmar

As a result of the on-going international pressure and restrictions on trade in products from Myanmar, exports of timber have been affected. The cumulative result of the US Burma Act (recently revised), OFAC and FATF resolutions on financial transactions and action by the EU Parliament have had a striking impact, not only timber trade but also the entire business sector.

In addition to external action, there are also internal factors which have slowed the timber trade. The Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) is the sole and official supplier of logs to the sector, but MTE is facing difficulties to transport logs from the extraction sites to Yangon, where many processing mills are located because of the security threat from anti-government forces.

Changes to export regulations have also undermined exports of wood products. In August 2022 an order was issued revising the definition of type of wood products. It was decreed that sawn wood greater than a cross section area of more than 24 square inches shall be regarded as rough sawn and exports are prohibited.

As a result squared logs and veneer flitches cannot be exported and this has cut into export earnings. Annual export earnings from timber exports have fallen to around US$10 million over the past 3 years according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.



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