Nepal traders hopeful for reopening of Chinese border ports

Kathmandu, Oct 14 (IANS) The Nepali trade community on Wednesday placed high hopes on the reopening of the China-Nepal border ports that were closed following the April 25 earthquake.

With Jilung, a major border port in China’s Tibet region, commencing operations from Thursday, the border trade entrepreneurs are hopeful that the import of Chinese goods would help them recoup their losses, Xinhua news agency reported.

Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Rajesh Kazi Shrestha said: “Opening of Kerung border has brought relief. It will ease the import of essential goods boosting our confidence in trade.”

Over 400 loaded trucks have been stranded at Tatopani — the largest border port linking the two countries — for the past six months due to the damaged highways following quake-triggered landslides.

Shrestha, a former assistant minister for Commerce and Supplies, suggested opening more China-Nepal border ports.

“The more border ports in mountainous areas, the more will be the trade volume and growth,” Shrestha said.

There are only two border ports — Tatopani and Kerung — functioning between Nepal and China.

“Opening of Kerung port means we can immediately start the process for importing new goods. However, it will take 10 to 12 days for the goods to arrive via road. It will help us to revive our business and recoup the losses we have incurred,” said Bishnu Bahadur Khatri, president of the Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association.

More than 1,500 entrepreneurs depend on the China-Nepal border trade. Khatri said: “We are expecting the immediate opening of Tatopani port since loaded trucks with readymade items, garments, shoes and electronic goods have been stranded there.”

Tatopani border port, some 130 km from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, is expected to be operational from November 5.

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