Nepal to request China to open more passesNepal will request China to open more border points for bilateral trade when the customs officials of the two countries meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Nepal will request China to open more border points for bilateral trade when the customs officials of the two countries meet in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Nepali officials are also planning to request their Chinese counterparts for reopening the Tatopani-Khasa route—the main inland trade route with between two countries that was damaged by the April 25 earthquake.
Another major trade route in the north, Rasuwagadhi-Kerung, has recently come into operation through which Nepal is now bringing in fuel gifted by China.
“The current Indian embargo and disruption of two main trade routes in the north by the earthquake suggest that we need more routes that operate all year round,” said Damodar Regmi, deputy director general at the Department of Customs, who is leading the Nepali team at the annual border customs meeting. Deputy Director General of Lhasa Customs Office Long Chengwei will head the Chinese team.
There are seven other border points—Mustang, Larke in Gorkha, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Lamabagar in Dolakha, Yari in Humla, Mugu, and Olangchungola in Taplejung. “Among them, Mustang and Larke have relatively better customs infrastructure,” said Regmi. “We will ask the Chinese side to gradually bring all the border points into operation for all 12 months based on the infrastructure status.”
During the sixth meeting of the Nepal-China Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee held in August, the two neighbours had agreed to develop infrastructure at the six existing points and to initiate study for the building three “business roads” from Chekampar and Larke in Gorkha, Lamabagar and Mugu to connect Tibet.
On the reopening of the Tatopani route, the Chinese officials had asked their Nepali counterparts to maintain better communication between Nepali Customs Office in Tatopani and Chinese Customs Office in Kuti, where the Chinese facility was relocated after the Khasa market was also heavily damaged by the earthquake, according to Regmi.
Also on Nepal’s agenda are issues related to easing access to Nepali products in the Chinese market. Although China has provided duty-free access to over 8,000 goods, Nepal has failed to benefit from it.
Nepal will demand a duty-free market access based on customs’ “six digit” harmonised system which allows a number of products to be brought under a single product heading. Currently, China provides duty-free access to Nepal under “eight digit” harmonised system which only gives duty-free access to specific products in the Chinese market. Besides, Nepal will request China to recognise quarantine certification of Nepali authorities to help boost its exports to China.