KATHMANDU, Sept 29: Movement of Nepal bound goods imported from China has not been eased despite the Chinese authority’s assurance of facilitating the trading via Tatopani-Khasa and Rasuwagadhi-Khasa, the two main land routes for Nepal-China trade, said traders.
According to traders, they have been able to bring in only 13 loaded cargo trucks ferrying medicines, apparels and hydropower equipment via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border in the past one week. Similarly, around seven trucks carrying relief materials entered Nepal through Tatopani-Khasa trade point over the period. Thousands of loaded containers are reported to have remained stranded at these trading points.
Issuing a press statement last week, the Chinese Embassy in Nepal stated that China reopened Zhangmu and Jilong ports for one-way cross-border transit of goods from China to Nepal. It was expected to ease import of Nepal bound goods that were stuck in the cross-border land of the northern neighbor for around nine months.
However, traders are unable to ferry their consignments. According to them, the strict safety measures sought by the Chinese authorities, recent landslides on Chinese side and slow customs clearance procedures by the Chinese officials are among the reasons behind the movements of few cargo containers.
“This has saddened mainly those traders who were hoping sell the Dashain targeted goods imported from China,” Bachchu Poudel, president of Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association, told Republica.
Poudel said the Chinese authority has made the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test report mandatory for the cross border movement of traders, and has been pressing the Nepali side to install designated health desks to carry out PCR tests at the border point. “As Nepali traders are allowed to receive their goods only at Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge at the border points, the need for PCR test report has just added hassles in importing goods,” he added.
According to Poudel, the recent landslide reported in the Kerung area of China has added further disruption to the movement of imported goods. He said Chinese officials are slow in carrying out their customs procedures due to their festive season, which starts from October 1.
Traders also criticized Nepali authorities for failing to consider the issue seriously. Poudel said months-long holding of the cargo containers has led to damage of large quantities of imported goods, incurring huge financial losses. “It would have been solved earlier had the government constantly lobbied to the Chinese authorities on time,” he said.