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Nepal, China  to resume two-way trade via key border points

View of the Nepal-China land border crossing

KATHMANDU: Officials from Nepal and China agreed to resume two-way trade via a key land border point from April 1.

The decision was made during the first meeting of the Nepal-China Coordination Mechanism on Border Trade and Cooperation, which was held on Wednesday in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

The meeting was co-chaired by  Madhu Kumar Marasini, Secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Nepal and Chen Yongqi, Executive Vice-Chairman of the People’s Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.

The discussion was mainly focused on resuming the cross border trade and people-to-people movement at optimum level and exploring new avenues of cooperation in border trade and cooperation including smooth operation of land ports, trade facilitation, custom cooperation, border area development, trade-‘related infrastructures, among others.

“We have agreed to have full operation of Rasuwagadhi/Kerung exit and entry point for two-way trade and people to people movement from April 1,” Secretary Marasini told local media after the meeting.

According to him, the two sides also agreed to resume two-way trade via Tatopani/Zhangmu border point and human movement/passenger clearance from Yari/Pulang border point from May 1, 2023. These two border points also remained shut even after the pandemic.

China, which is also one of the major development partners of Nepal, closed border points with Nepal three years ago with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them was the Kerung/Rasuwagadhi border port.  Nepal imports ready-made clothes, footwear, apples, motor batteries, plastic products via this border point while the country exports pashmina, carpets, bamboo stools, wheat, ghee, noodles, pasta, biscuit, juice, jam, beaten rice, sugar, hog plum candy and chocolates to China.

Due to the border closure, Nepali importers doing business with China had incurred huge losses, as Nepal-bound container trucks carrying their goods remained stranded in different towns of Tibet including Nyalam, Kerung and Shigatse. However, China resumed one-way trade with Nepal in July last year following the latter’s repeated requests. Since then, there had been limited trade via the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung-Jilong border point. From December last year, China continued opening the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung-Jilong border point for a one-way trade.

On Wednesday’s meeting, Chinese side agreed to consider setting up a multi-functional lab in Nepal-China border upon Nepal’s request.

According to a statement issued by Nepal’s Consulate Office in Lhasa, China welcomed Nepal’s suggestion on the construction of trans-border special economic zone and to providing technical and financial support to build infrastructures in Nepal side at Nechung-Lizi border port.

The diplomatic mission also said that the Chinese side assured of opening up seasonal border trade points at Nepal-China border to facilitate bilateral trade.

While acknowledging the importance of closer economic and trade relations between two countries, the two delegations exchanged views on possible cooperation on a range of areas

including the export of agricultural and livestock products such as citrus fruits, dried meat and medicinal herbal products to China, according to the statement.

During the meeting, the Nepali side stressed on the need for Kathmandu-Lhasa direct flights, and requested the Chinese side to resume direct flights at an early date.


Both sides had also underlined the need to enhance the level of support for improving the livelihood of people residing in bordering districts in the Northern Himalayan region of Nepal. “The Chinese side also agreed to encourage its business community to invest in Nepal in different sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and garments,” read the press statement.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon, the Nepali delegation led by Secretary Marasini, called on Yan Jinghai, Chairman of the People’s Government of Tibet.

“During the meeting, views were exchanged on matters of mutual interest including the promotion of economic cooperation between Nepal and China in general and Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in particular,” read the statement issued by Nepal’s diplomatic mission in Lhasa.

Also Read: China reopens key border port four days after Prachanda becomes Nepal’s new PM

(Santosh Ghimire is India Narrative’s Nepal Correspondent in Kathmandu.)