Nepal, China trade grows after reopening of border point

Trade between Nepal and China has been on the rise after the reopening of the Tatopani-Zhangmu border point earlier this year, according to data from Nepal's Department of Customs.

The border point had been out of service from Nepal's deadly earthquake in 2015 until May this year when it was resumed.

Bilateral trade through the border point stood at around four million U.S. dollars as of mid-July when the 2018-19 fiscal year ended. As of mid-November since the start of the 2019-20 fiscal year, total trade through the route has reached about 20 million U.S. dollars.

The figure was still low compared to that of the Rasuwagadhi-Geelong border point, but officials and traders believed the volume will grow eventually. Nepal exported goods worth around three million U.S. dollars through the Rasuwagadhi-Geelong border point and imported goods worth about 160 million U.S. dollars during the first four months of this fiscal year.

"Trade through the Tatopani border point is on the rise," Krishna Bahadur Basnet, chief customs officer of Tatopani Customs told Xinhua earlier this week. "As a result, my office collected revenue worth 225,910 U.S. dollars in the first month of current fiscal and total revenue grew to 2.43 million U.S. dollars during the four-month period."

Gyirong county in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region under construction after earthquake. /VCG Photo

Gyirong county in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region under construction after earthquake. /VCG Photo

According to Basnet, most of the imported goods from China through the Tatopani border point were agriculture products such as apples. "Industrial goods have also been imported through this border point but at a very limited quantity," he said, noting that importers have not been confident enough to import through this route because of the prolonged closure before its reopening.

Nepali officials and traders said the trade volume grew significantly because there is a dry port at Larcha near Tatopani border point, which eases the procedure and the containers do not have parking problem.

"I can predict that in the next one and a half years, we will see the trade volume comparable to the volume before the earthquake," said Bachhu Poudel, president of Nepal Trans Himalayan Border Commerce Association, a grouping of traders involved in Nepal-China trade.

The Tatopani border point had been the main route for inland trade between Nepal and China before its closure in 2015. Around 25 percent of Nepal's total trade with China took place through this border point as of fiscal year 2013-14, according to the Department of Customs.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency