Fresh propopsal floated to ChinaNepal has asked China to restart conducting trade through Tatopani border point temporarily without customs, quarantine and immigration facilities on either side of the border
Nepal has asked China to restart conducting trade through Tatopani border point temporarily without customs, quarantine and immigration facilities on either side of the border.
The border point has remained closed since last year’s deadly earthquake which damaged infrastructure on both sides. The border point was recently briefly opened to clear goods into Nepal stuck in Khasa.
“We have sent a proposal to the Chinese side about 10 days ago to consider opening the border point to facilitate exports and imports by a few government officials on either side of the border,” said Jhabindra Aryal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As per Nepal’s proposal, the trade will be done only in containers. “Once those goods arrive at the border point, officials of either side will put another seal on the container before they arrive in mutually-agreed container freight station (CFS),” said Aryal.
The CFS is the place where break up cargo is put into containers and the place where it is unpacked at the port of destination.
According to Aryal, CFS can be set up in any place in mutually-agreed areas, for example Panchkhal in Nepal’s case and nearby area of Khasa in China, where customs, immigration, quarantine and other necessary facilities can be set up.
“We were discussing about this modality with Chinese side for long and we sent the formal proposal recently,” said Aryal.
The Chinese side has been maintaining that they could not open the border due to geographical vulnerability of Khasa area, the bordering Chinese town, which was also badly damaged by last year’s quake.
Li Xiaojun, director for Tibet Affairs at State Council Information Office, told visiting journalists from Nepal in Beijing in the third week of May that two countries were exploring an alternative for setting up infrastructure for bilateral trade after Khasa was found to be geographical vulnerable.
“Zhangmu (Khasa) area is dangerous. Stones continue to fall down and the whole area is no longer fit to live and conduct businesses,” he told journalists. After the earthquake, China has relocated settlements of Khasa to Shigatse.
When asked about whether the border was closed due to ‘Free Tibet’ activities as reported in Nepali media, Li refuted such claims. “We closed it temporarily only due to safety concerns.”
As bilateral trade has been severely affected as Tatopani border point continues to remain closed,
doing trade through Rasuwagadhi border point has been difficult for traders due to poor road infrastructure and China not issuing entry pass to traders other than those from bordering Rasuwa.
‘One-day entry pass in the offing’
Nepali traders from districts other than Rasuwa are also expected to get one-day entry pass as the Chinese side is ready to provide such entry document based on information provided in advance.
“The Chinese side has requested us to provide details of people visiting Keyrong for export-import purpose in advance of 20 days for the purpose,” said Jhabindra Aryal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Although Nepali traders from any place are allowed to get one-day entry pass to enter Khasa, China has been more restrictive in Rasuwagadhi.
However, Aryal said that it was due to the fact that Nepal had signed an agreement to use Tibetan Highway after crossing Nepal-China border in Tatopani, but that is not the case in Rasuwagadhi. (PR)