Chin-Mizoram Border Dispute Leaves Traders Stranded

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A blockade on the border between Chin State and India’s Mizoram State is making life difficult for traders on the Burmese side, who say they are running out of places to store goods intended for export.

The Champai Vehicles Association, one of a number of groups involved in transporting goods through Mizoram, started blocking traffic through Burma’s No. 2 Border Trading Camp near Rihkhawdar, Chin State, into Zokhawthar, in Mizoram’s Champai District, on March 26.

This has forced local traders to keep their products in warehouses until trade begins to flow again. But they say that as the dispute drags on, this is becoming increasingly difficult.

“Because there has been no movement for more than two weeks now, all the warehouses in Rih [Rihkhawdar] are full. That’s why I’ve had to store all my goods for export in Kalay [in neighboring Sagaing Region],” said Ma Bawrte, a trader based in Rihkhawdar.

Another headache is that many of the Chin State traders provide credit so that buyers on the Mizoram side can purchase their goods. However, getting that money back is no easy matter now that they can’t supply the promised products on time.

“It is difficult to get back the money that we lent in Mizoram because they don’t want to pay us back until they get new goods from us,” Ma Bawrte told Khonumthung News. “That is the situation we are facing on the border right now.”

Imported materials and local products from Burma are typically transported through Zokhawthar and Champhai to Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram State.

These goods are then sent onwards to other Mizoram districts. However, competition for control of lucrative shipping routes in Zokhawthar and Champhai has often disrupted trade in the past, according to traders in Chin State.

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