China closes Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border in less than a month of resuming trade

Published On: January 21, 2023 08:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

This time, China takes an excuse of Chinese New Year celebration for obstruction

KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Nepal’s trade with China via the land routes has been disrupted once again with the Chinese side halting the trade through Rasuwagadhi-Kerung till February 3.

Trading of goods through the land route has once again come to a halt in less than a month after China eased restrictions at the border point after three years. 

On December 28, China had announced to open the border for two-way trade between the two countries through Rasuwagadhi-Kerung checkpoint effective from January 8 as the country announced lifting Covid-19 curbs across the nation by downgrading the virus to a less-severe category. Prior to this, the northern neighbor had been allowing partial movement of goods for three years, under the pretext of spread of the pandemic.

Narayan Prasad Bhandari, chief of the Customs Office in Rasuwa, said China has once again closed the border citing the celebration of their New Year. The Chinese New Year will kick off on January 22 and will be celebrated through February 5.

In three weeks’ period, Nepal sent 39 containers full of exportable goods worth Rs 60 million to China. On the other hand, Nepal received imported goods on an average of 14 containers daily, according to Bhandari.

Through the dry port, Nepal imports ready-made clothes, footwear, apples, motor batteries and plastic products, among others. On the other hand, Nepal exports pashmina products, carpets, bamboo stools, wheat, vegetable ghee, noodles, pasta, biscuit, juice, jam, beaten rice, sugar, Nepali hog plum candy, chocolates and chewing gum to China

Showing various pretexts, China time and again has been obstructing bilateral trade via the land routes. Since the 2015 earthquake, Nepal’s export through the Tatopani-Khasa border has come to a standstill. Prior to the earthquake, the trade volume through this land route used to be more than Rs 150 billion annually. 

In the first five months of the current fiscal year, Nepal imported Chinese goods worth Rs 4.42 billion via Tatopani border. Dayananda KC, chief officer of the Customs Office in Tatopani, said an average of three containers of Chinese goods, mostly containing fruits, is imported to Nepal through this border point. The government collects customs revenue of around Rs 240 million a month.

Nepal shares its border with the Tibet autonomous region of China in a stretch of 1,414 kilometers along the Himalayan range.  China has officially announced opening six border points for bilateral trade via land routes. These include Kodari-Nyalam (Tatopani-Khasa), Rasuwa-Kerung, Yari (Humla)-Purang, Olangchunggola-Riwu, Kimathanka- Riwu and Nechung (Mustang)-Lizi checkpoints.

However, till date, only two trade routes, namely Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani, have been opened for commercial trading. Still, the Chinese authorities shut these points indefinitely on various pretexts time and again.

Leave A Comment