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Military junta to sell over ten thousand tons of timber online in coming weeks

11 September 2021

Export Marketing & Milling Department Yangon and Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) has announced to sell over 10000 tons of teak wood and other hardwoods. According to the announcement on national television, the online timber sale will be held from 16 to 30 September at the headquarters of MTE, located in Insein Township, Yangon. “The timber sale will include 1,500 tons of teakwood and over 10,000 tons of other hardwoods,” according to the BETV-Business News. 

The MTE is a state-run business enterprise that controls all Myanmar’s timber harvests, sales, and exports. It has held three separate auctions in late May in which nearly 10,300 tons of timber were sold for around US$5million. The timber sold reportedly came from a stockpile of 200,000 tons of illegal timber seized under the ousted National League for Democracy. 

Due to increasing anti-coup resistance and international sanctions following February’s coup, the military junta reportedly suffers from a shortage of taxes and export revenues. There was also speculation that the military junta had printed Myanmar Kyat to solve bankruptcy. And selling timber could be another way for earning foreign currency and revenues.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), the Myanmar government earned US$ 154.06 million during the 2019-20 fiscal years from the export of timber and other forest products. 

However, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on a state-owned timber enterprise and individuals who were involved in timber enterprise after the coup as part of an international effort targeting businesses whose profits are funding the country’s military leadership. 

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