No headway in opening new Nepal-China border pointsAlthough Nepal and China have agreed to improve customs infrastructure at seven border points, there has not been any significant headway towards the implementation of the accord.
Although Nepal and China have agreed to improve customs infrastructure at seven border points, there has not been any significant headway towards the implementation of the accord.
In November last year, Nepal’s Department of Customs (DoC) and China’s Lhasa Customs had signed the 20-point agreement in Kathmandu to operationalise the seven border points for international trade.
Nepal has set up customs offices at Chhoser village in Mustang, Larke in Gorkha, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Lamabagar in Dolakha, Yari in Humla, Mugu village in Mugu district and Olangchungola in Taplejung, but they are used only by the local residents for cross-border trade.
Currently, Rasuwagadhi Customs point has been operating for international trade, while the major Tatopani trade route has remained closed since last year’s earthquake.
DoC Director General Sishir Dhungana said there has been regular exchange of information between the two sides, but not significant headway been achieved.
He said after the signing of the bilateral agreement, Nepal has arranged all necessary human resources for the purpose.
As per the agreement signed during the 28th Nepal-China Boarder Customs Meeting, the two countries would form a joint team to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the existing infrastructure, but the team is yet to be formed, Dhungana said.
A team led by DoC Deputy Director General is scheduled to visit Lhasa either in July or August to hold a follow-up meeting with the Chinese side, said Dhungana, adding the two sides would review the progress towards implementing the agreement.
As per last year’s agreement, China had given high priority to operating the Tatopani-Khasa route.
But the Chinese side is not yet ready to reopen the route through the same point, citing geographical vulnerability of Khasa.
But the two sides are likely to move towards operating this route by setting up a container freight station (CFS) somewhere near the border where geographical vulnerability is low, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As per the Nepal’s proposal, trade will be done only in containers.
“Once those goods arrive at the border point, officials from both the sides will put another seal on the containers before they are sent to the mutually-agreed container freight station.