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China

Myanmar-China trade halted amid fierce fighting in Shan state

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Trade across Myanmar’s shared border with China has ground to a halt amid a six-week offensive by ethnic rebels fighting junta troops in the country’s Shan state, according to merchants, causing an estimated loss of more than US$500 million in commerce.

Since the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army launched Operation 1027 – named after the Oct. 27 military actions that started it – as part of the “Three Brotherhood Alliance,” junta troops have been on the retreat in many areas, leading junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in late November to issue a rare acknowledgement of the rebel’s successes.

After fighting began, merchants told RFA Burmese, trade ceased at Muse and Chinshwehaw – two key border towns positioned across from southwest China’s Yunnan province.

“Trade has totally stopped there – only hand couriers are seen at the border gates, carrying traditional foods,” said a merchant in Muse who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity due to security concerns. 

There were no civil servants to process cross-border trade left in the trade zone, he said. “Fighting breaks out every once and a while, lasting for 10-15 minutes each time.”

Prior to the offensive, the value of bilateral trade at the two border towns was more than US$10 million per day, according to junta’s Ministry of Commerce data. So in the 50 days since the start of “Operation 1027,” that would amount to more than US$500 million in losses.

Corn, rice, cotton, machinery

There are two major border gates — Muse-Mang Wein and Kyin San Kyawt — used for bilateral trade at the two border towns, but neither is open amid the clashes. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, or MNDAA, now controls Kyin Sang Kyawt, where nearly 100 trucks were destroyed by military shelling on Nov. 23.

Smoke rises as a convoy of trucks burns near Muse on the Myanmar-China border in this screen grab obtained from a social media video released Nov. 23, 2023. (Screenshot from video obtained by Reuters)

Myanmar exports agricultural goods to China through the Kyin San Kyawt border gate in Chinshwehaw that include corn, rice, rubber, black sesame, dried elephant foot yam, green gram and groundnuts, and imports cotton, raw plastic, machinery, chemical fertilizers and medicine.

Myanmar’s exports through the Muse-Mang Wein border gate in Muse include eel, crab, prawns, cotton, rubber, corn, peanut, groundnuts, rice, broken rice and turmeric, while imports consist mainly of fuel and machinery.

Area aid workers said at least 10 civilians, including children, have been killed in the fighting during the offensive.

A merchant at Chinshwehaw told RFA that commodities are stranded at the border gate.

“Commodities from the Chinese side were sent back as they blocked the border gate,” she said. “But Chinese goods on our side have sat stranded in the fields and warehouses. We are waiting to pay taxes.”

The costs associated with the transportation of goods have skyrocketed during the conflict, a third merchant told RFA.

“The cost of transporting goods on a 17-ton truck on the route from [Shan state’s] Mongla township to Mandalay [800 kilometers, or 500 miles to the east] was 7 million kyat (US$3,330),” he said. “In Chinshwehaw, the cost has increased by more than four fold. Fuel prices have also increased.”

Both merchants and farmers have suffered losses, and more than 1,000 common laborers have lost their jobs at the trade zones, said residents and merchants.

No end in sight

Li Kyarwen, the spokesperson of the MNDAA, said that it isn’t possible to restore bilateral trade in northern Shan state anytime soon.

“During the ‘revolutionary period,’ due to the lack of peace and security, business can’t be resumed immediately,” he said.

Loaded cargo trucks in Muse town in Myanmar wait to enter China in early 2021. (RFA)
Loaded cargo trucks in Muse town in Myanmar wait to enter China in early 2021. (RFA)

But merchants warned that if the border gates don’t reopen by the end of December, there will be a shortage of Chinese commodities, “and prices will surely soar.”

Attempts by RFA to contact the junta’s Ministry of Commerce for comment on the halt to border trade went unanswered.

Reports of the closed checkpoints came a week after junta Foreign Affairs Minister Than Shwe met with Shi Yugang, the deputy secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee during a visit to China, at which the two discussed border trade issues.

While the junta’s peace negotiation committee has held talks with the Three Brotherhood Alliance to end all conflict in Shan state near the border, little progress has been made and fighting continues daily.

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.

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The New Company Law brings substantial changes with implications for new and existing foreign invested enterprises and stakeholders. Foreign investors must assess if adjustments to existing structures

Despite recent economic challenges, many organizations’ China operations provide unparalleled access to one of the world’s largest and most competitive global supply chains. Over the past 30 years, a significant number of foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) have been established in China. As of the end of 2022, the number of FIEs operating in China had exceeded 1.12 million.

Compared to their domestic counterparts, FIEs demonstrate greater caution regarding legal revisions and are diligent in making swift adjustments. This stems not only from the closer scrutiny FIEs face from regulatory authorities but also from their commitment to compliance and maintaining a competitive edge.

Clearly, there has been a shift in China’s corporate regulations—from merely encouraging an increase in the number of companies to focusing on attracting mature enterprises and higher-quality investments. While the transition from a broad approach to a more refined one may cause short-term challenges, it ultimately benefits the company’s long-term development. By returning to the original intent of setting registered capital, it not only protects the interests of creditors but also shields shareholders from the operational risks of the company.

In China’s foreign investment landscape, while most FIEs exercise commercial prudence in determining registered capital—factoring in capital expenditures, operational costs, and setting aside surplus funds—some opt for higher registered capital levels to avoid future capital increase procedures. This typically involves lengthy document signing and registration changes, lasting 1-2 months.

Joint ventures (JVs) often impose stricter payment deadlines for registered capital in their articles of association to ensure both parties’ simultaneous contributions align with operational needs. Conversely, wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) tend to favor flexibility in payment deadlines, often allowing full payment before the company’s operational period expires.

Given these circumstances, despite the generally stronger capital adequacy among foreign companies compared to domestic entities, many FIEs could be affected by the new capital contribution rules.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships Fully Permitted Visa-Free Entry in China

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China will allow visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving by cruise ship at 13 ports along the coast, starting May 15, 2024. Visitors must stay with the same ship and in permitted areas for up to 15 days. This policy aims to boost tourism and facilitate high-quality development in the cruise industry.


China’s immigration agency announced that it will grant a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups to enter China by cruise at all cruise ports along the coast of China, starting May 15, 2024. The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within permitted areas for no more than 15 days.

Effective May 15, 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has officially implemented a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships. This progressive move aims to enhance personnel exchanges and foster cooperation between China and other nations, furthering the country’s commitment to high-level openness.

Under this policy, foreign tourist groups, comprising two or more individuals, who travel by cruise ship and are organized by Chinese domestic travel agencies, can now enjoy visa-free entry as a cohesive group at cruise ports in 13 cities along the Chinese coast.

The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within China for no more than 15 days. The eligible areas for this policy are coastal provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and Beijing.

Furthermore, to support cruise tourism development, seven additional cruise ports—Dalian, Lianyungang, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beihai—have been included as applicable ports for visa-free transit.

The recent implementation of the visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships is poised to have several significant effects. The policy will provide crucial support for the cruise economy and the overall cruise industry. By facilitating smoother travel for foreign tourist groups, it acts as a catalyst for high-quality development in this sector.

Additionally, under this policy, international cruise companies can strategically plan their global routes by designating Chinese port cities, such as Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen, as docking destinations. This move is expected to attract more cruise ships to Chinese ports, ultimately bringing in a larger number of international visitors to the Chinese market.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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China’s New Tariff Law: Streamlining and Standardizing Current Tariff Regulations

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China’s new Tariff Law consolidates import and export duties, clarifies rules for imposing counter-tariffs, and sets a December 1, 2024 effective date. It codifies existing practices on cross-border e-commerce and rules on the origin of goods into law, impacting trade relations.


China’s new Tariff Law consolidates rules on import and export duties that were previously implemented via several legal documents and makes important clarifications and additions to prior regulations. Among other changes, it stipulates provisions for the Chinese government to impose counter-tariffs on imported goods, codifying these powers into law for the first time. We outline all the notable updates to the China Tariff Law and discuss the implications for the country’ current trade relations. 

On April 26, 2024, the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislature, adopted the Tariff Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Tariff Law”) after several rounds of revisions.

The new Tariff Law will replace the Import and Export Tariff Regulations of the People’s Republic of China, which fall under the purview of the State Council, and adopts many of its provisions.

Previously, Chinese law had not stipulated legislative powers to implement countervailing tariffs, although China was nonetheless able to impose counter-tariffs on trade partners through other means.

China’s new Tariff Law comes into effect on December 1, 2024.

China’s Tariff Law elevates several existing provisions and practices to the level of law. For instance, Article 3 of the Tariff Law clarifies the obligations of cross-border e-commerce platforms for tariff withholding and implementing consolidated taxation.

The Tariff Law also solidifies the rules and regulations on the origin of goods, stipulating that the application of tariff rates shall comply with the corresponding rules of origin. Although this has been previously implemented in practice, it is the first time this has been codified into law.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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