Traders optimistic about boosting exports to ChinaParticipants representing Nepal in the China-South Asia Exposition and the China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair have expressed optimism about the possibility of increasing exports of Nepali products to China.
Participants representing Nepal in the China-South Asia Exposition and the China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair have expressed optimism about the possibility of increasing exports of Nepali products to China.
Both exports to and import from China have taken a beating following the closure of Nepal’s main trading route with China—Tatopani—after last year’s earthquakes. “We are expecting Chinese buyers to show interest in Nepali products. Sales have remained low in the recent past and I hope this event will help us rebound,” Sushil Raj Pandey, a Thamel-based trader of handicrafts, told the Post.
He said before the earthquake, Chinese traders would visit Kathmandu, choose products and get them shipped through the Tatopani route. But the situation has changed now.
As the Rasuwagadhi trade route isn’t as convenient for Chinese traders as Tatopani, their Nepal visits have slowed down. Even those visiting Nepal have curtailed purchases. “Since it is costly to ship products via aircraft, there has been a decline in the purchase volume,” Pandey said.
It costs Rs200 per kg to ship products to China through aircraft, traders say.
For Bijesh Chauguthi, a Bhaktapur-based trader of wooden crafts, Kunming Fair is an opportunity for finding long-term business associates in China. The third time participant in the fair is optimistic that the event turns out to be as good as his last time.
“When we show our designs, people just do not accept the fact that they are handmade. In this fair, we have made arrangements to demonstrate live how wooden crafts are created,” Chauguthi said.
Babu Raja Heaumba, another trader from Bhaktapur who is participating in the fair for the fourth year, feels the expo has played a crucial role in promoting Nepali products in the world. “It’s not just about China. Traders and consumers from many other countries show up and it is a great opportunity for us to market our products,” Heaumba told the Post. The six-day expo under the theme of “Amity, Sincerity, Mutual Benefit, Inclusiveness and Win-Win Cooperation” was inaugurated on Sunday amid a programme where a number of Asian leaders, including Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun was present.
As many as 200 stalls from Nepal have featured handicrafts, metal crafts, wooden crafts, rudraksha beads, pashmina, Nepali art and sculptures and thanka painting, among others. The stalls have been decked up in a manner reflecting the cultural heritage of Nepal.
More than 500 Nepali participants, including delegations from the government and Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), have gathered in the event. FNCCI is leading the business delegates in the expo, with a 16-member delegation led by Senior Vice-president Bhawani Rana.
Nepal shares exhibition pavilion with other two South Asian nations—India and Bangladesh. According to Pandey, there is a big demand of beads and Buddha Chitta Mala in the Chinese market. Apart from this, fine quality handicrafts too have good prospects.
The event, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of China and the government of Yunnan Province, has 89 participating countries. The exhibition area spreads over 180,000sqm, up from 130,000sqm meters last year. According to the organisers, a total of 75 countries participated in the event in 2015, drawing around 120,000 buyers. The organisers expect a larger draw this year.