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Smuggling and Import Duties in Myanmar

Discussion Papers


by Koji Kubo and Nu Nu Lwin
October 2010


This paper examines the effects of import duties on smuggling in Myanmar. Following Fisman and Wei (2004), the reporting discrepancies between Myanmar’s imports records and corresponding exports recorded by trading partners are regarded as indicative of smuggling. The paper studies whether reporting discrepancies differ across trading partners as well as across time. Our main findings are first, that the hike in import duties in June 2004 helped to widen the reporting discrepancies, which suggests smuggling for tax evasion purposes and second, that reporting discrepancies differ considerably across trading partners: land borders appear to be particularly attractive venues for smugglers.

Keywords: Myanmar (Burma), smuggling, tax evasion, border trade
JEL classification: F14, H26, K42, O17

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