China urged to reopen Tatopani checkpointCommerce Minister Romi Gauchan Thakali on Friday urged China to reopen the Tatopani border point that has remained closed due to damage by the 2015 earthquake and subsequent floods and landslides.
Commerce Minister Romi Gauchan Thakali on Friday urged China to reopen the Tatopani border point that has remained closed due to damage by the 2015 earthquake and subsequent floods and landslides.
During a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong, Minister Thakali insisted that the border crossing be reopened at the earliest possible to enhance trade and connectivity. Minister Thakali said that bilateral trade was a key tool for bettering people-to-people relations, and that bringing Tatopani back online would facilitate commerce between Nepal and China, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
She stressed the need for cross-border connectivity and smooth operation besides upgradation of key border points. During the meeting, Ambassador Yu said she appreciated the suggestions and concerns of Minister Thakali, and pledged to do what is necessary to revive the Tatopani border. Ambassador Yu also appreciated Nepal’s support for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
Responding to Thakali’s request to expedite the construction of a dry port in Rasuwagadhi and resume the construction work at the dry port in Tatopani which is almost complete, Ambassador Yu said that she would do the needful.
The Tatopani border point, the most important crossing between Nepal and northern neighbour China, was shut down due to massive damage suffered during the earthquake.
Chinese authorities have said that the Friendship Bridge connecting Nepal and China has sustained extensive damage, and that it cannot be used without proper renovation.
Nepal has time and again urged China to work to reopen the border at the earliest possible while the Chinese government has likewise repeatedly pledged to do so. However, nothing has happened, and trade between the two countries through this point has been severely affected.
Minister Thakali also said that bilateral trade had been increasing year by year and that the trade gap too was widening. In this context, Thakali urged China to relax quarantine requirements and remove non-tariff barriers to give easier entry to Nepali goods to cut the trade deficit.
While Tatopani remains closed, traders have been facing difficulties transporting goods through the Rasuwagadhi border point due to poor road infrastructure, they said.
The importance of Tatopani for Nepal-China trade can be gauged by the fact that the customs point, on an average, collects revenue amounting to Rs15 million daily. It earns more than Rs5 billion in customs duty annually.