Nepal-China trade set to surge with Tatopani Customs re-openingChinese authority has opened one of the main land trade routes of Nepal-China trade by providing entry passes to ten loaders and containers
The Tatopani Customs at Nepal-China border in Sindhupalchok opened on Tuesday after being closed following the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015. Four Nepali containers entered China via the newly opened customs point.
Chinese authority has opened one of the main land trade routes of Nepal-China trade by providing entry passes to ten loaders and containers. The trade point is set to open officially from Wednesday after the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi on behalf of the Chinese government hands over Miteri Bridge, Kodari Highway and the Tatopani dry port to Nepali authority.
The Chinese Ambassador, who paid a field visit on Tuesday, said only merchandise trade has been allowed at present. According to the Chinese envoy, they have considered border security as a high priority.
The empty containers from Nepal made out their way to Khasa, Tibet, through graveled road that passed below the under construction Miteri bridge located at Nepal-China border.
Raj Kumar Poudel, chief of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality, confirmed the cargo movement through Tatopani customs point. “The Chinese side expressed its consent to allow only the movement of traded goods for now,” said Poudel.
The Chinese side is reported to have consented on allowing import of 182 types of goods. These involve wooden log, edibles, woolen carpet and handicrafts, among others. Nepal can import wool, footwear, electric goods and readymade garments, among others.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Krishna Gopal Gurung of Armed Police Force at the Tatopani customs said the Chinese side agreed to allow the cargo movement based on the strong security measures to be implemented by Nepal. “Chinese authority expressed its concern mainly on the tight security mechanism while carrying out bilateral trading,” Gurung said.
The government officials said that the container movement was done in coordination with authorities of the customs office, immigration and district chambers. As Nepali side does not have infrastructure for the related services, the official works are set to be done through the old office structures existing at the border.
Local people are buoyed by the resumed operation of the trade route, expecting that the business transaction will be flourished in future. Over a dozen of hotels and eatery businesses are set to come online along Tatopani-Kodari-Liping-Bhaisikunapati road.
Previous to the devastating earthquake, more than 15,000 tourists and 1,500 vehicles including loaded containers used to pass through the Nepal-China border. Bed Bahadur Shrestha, president of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sindhupalchok, said an average import of Rs20 billion and export of Rs3 billion per year were carried out before the operation of the trade point was stopped.
The infrastructure works on the Nepali side is also in progress to facilitate trade via the Tatopani customs. The inland container depot in Tatopani, being constructed by China Railway Construction Group Company, is almost at the final stage of its completion. The company has also constructed Baseri-Liping road segment while the Nepali authority has constructed Bahrabise-Baseri road.
Dharmendra Jha, chief of Road Division Office, Charikot, said they were working to blacktop 7 km road in Bahrabise-Baseri. According to him, the work to check the landslide in a number of locations along the road is also in progress.
The construction of the Miteri Bridge is almost completed. The Chinese contractor is reported to hand over the bridge to the authority on Wednesday. “The final work on a retaining wall and painting are left,” said Dabuti Sherpa, vice-chairman of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality, quoting the Chinese contractor. According to her, the Nepali containers carrying imported goods will be able to transport the goods by using the bridge.