The Myanmar government will crack down on illegal trade from March 1, the Ministry of Planning and Finance warned on Tuesday.

The customs department will take action on illegal trade, especially illegal border trade, under short-term and long-term plans in cooperation with neighbouring countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

The first phase of the project will be undertaken in the country's northern Kachin state bordering China, followed by the second phase in Shan state bordering China and Kayin state bordering Thailand and Bago region.

The third phase will be implemented in Sagaing bordering India and Taninthayi region bordering Thailand.

Minister for Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win said the public servants who take part in cracking down on smuggling will be rewarded with 50 per cent of the value of the seized goods.

Vice President U Myint Swe had urged the private sector in January to cooperate with the government on cracking down on smuggling which is one of the big challenges to economic growth.

The country is suffering the loss of large amount of taxes due to smuggling mostly through border trade every year, said local economists.

The country has 15 border trade points with neighbouring Thailand, China, India and Bangladesh.

Myanmar's total trade value reached $24.213 billion in the first 11 months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year as of February 17.