Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sino-Myanmar jade trade in for a bumpy ride

Thursday, 07 February 2013 14:11 Xiao Ting Shirley

It didn’t take much to have the grapevine buzzing with concern. A rumor, said to originate in Myanmar, quickly spread to China. The gist of it was that there was an official message from the Nayptitaw government about plans to ban the export of raw jade stone starting sometime this year. It was part of an alleged scheme to have the country’s new capital become the go-to place for stone-cutting and polishing, giving a desired value-added element to a very important export commodity.

Murmurs traveling back and forth along the bamboo telegraph suggest the Myanmar government will enact preferential policies to encourage Chinese jade merchants and jade cutters to enter the country, giving the former discounted land use permits and the latter two-year visas.

If true, the chatter goes, all this is being done as a means towards an end – to put Myanmar on the map as a jade processing and trade hub and therefore cripple China’s longstanding advantage.

Gao Mingbo, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar told reporters, “This is possible”, though there has been no official confirmation yet.

“If you once noticed the Myanmar president’s speech, he has mentioned a series of measures that include a reduction of the export of primary products, in order develop secondary processing or deep processing projects,” continued Mr. Gao, who was also aware of the online gossip. “[The Myanmar government] hope to enhance local industry.”
For full article, get the February 7 edition of M-ZINE+.
M-ZINE+ is a business weekly available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at

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