Fri 29 Jul 2011
Filed under: Business / Trade
Burmese authorities in northern Shan State have confiscated a shipment of jade valued at around 100 million kyat (US $128,000) because the owners did not have a transport permit to take it to Jiegao, in China’s Yunnan Province, where they intended to sell it, according to sources.
The jade was seized at a checkpoint on the highway between Lashio and Hsenwi on July 16, the sources said. It was discovered during a routine search for weapons and confiscated from the owners, 12 Burmese traders, because they could not produce a transport permit.
According to Soe Soe, one of the owners, the jade was purchased from a Chinese trader who bought it legally at the annual gems emporium in Naypyidaw, which was held from June 25 to July 7.
The Chinese seller of the jade did not want to give the transport permit to the 12 Burmese traders because he needed it to bring more jade that he acquired at the emporium to the Chinese border, said Soe Soe.
“I want to know why the authorities seized our legal jade lots, which are clearly marked as having been purchased at the emporium,” she said.
Jiegao, opposite the Burmese border town of Muse, is an important market for goods imported from Burma, both legally and illegally.
Burma is one of the world’s biggest producers of precious stones, including jade, rubies, diamonds, pearls and sapphires. According to the Rangoon-based Eleven media, a total of about 7,000 jade lots were sold at this year’s gems emporium. Most of Burma’s jade is sold to Chinese traders.
According to the government’s Central Statistical Organization, Burma produced 32,921 tons of jade, 18,728 million carats of gems, and 754 kilograms of other precious stones in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
Under the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, the US bans the import of Burmese gemstones via third-party countries.