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Myanmar-Saudi Arabia Diplomatic Link Eases Fish Exports

by Ellen Hardy
01 July 2008, at 1:00am

MYANMAR - The establishment of diplomatic links between Myanmar and Saudi Arabia in recent years has helped in fish exports from Myanmar to the Middle East.

Before, such export formalities had to be done through the Egyptian embassy here.

Saudi Arabia opened its embassy in Yangon in December 2005 and new trading arrangements that were previously carried out through teh Egyptuian embassy are now conducted directly.

The Myanmar Livestock Breedings and Fisheries Association said that Myanmar exported 200 tonnes of fresh water fishes including a variety of carp each month to Saudi Arabia.

Official statistics show that Myanmar exported 352,652 tonnes of marine products, worth US$561 million in the 2007-08 financial year - up from 2006-07's $234 million. However, this was down on the target figure of $750 million.

The fishery authorities export earnings to rise to $850 million in the present year.

China was the main destination for Myanmar's marine exports, followed by Thailand, Japan and Singapore.

Myanmar's fishery sector has been the fourth largest contributor to the gross domestic product and also the fourth largest source of foreign exchange earning in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Myanmar is cooperating with a regional organisation of the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) in conducting survey of marine resources in the country's waters, focusing species with commercial potential.

With a long coastline of over 2,800 kilometers and a total area of 500,000 hectares of swamps along the coast, the country has an estimated sustainable yield of marine products at over one million tons a year.

Ellen Hardy