Officials leave for China to seal transit, transport deal

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 12, 2018-

Two separate teams are leaving for China to secure as many pacts with Beijing ahead of the state visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli scheduled to begin on June 19.

A team led by Gopal Sigdel, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, which includes officials from other ministries, left for China on Monday. Its agenda concerns using highways in Tibet and logistical facilities close to the border for transportation of goods to and from Nepal.

Nepal currently uses three border points—Kerung, Kimathanka and Tatopani—linked with Tibetan highways, for transportation of goods from China. The Tatopani border point has remained closed since the 2015 earthquake.

According to Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary at the Transport Ministry, the team will hold negotiations with the Chinese side to link more border points with Tibetan highways so that people living in northern parts of Nepal have better access to supplies.

The Nepali side is proposing opening of at least nine more trading points bordering Tibet. Nepal and China agreed in 2015 to open seven new trading points between Nepal and China’s Tibet.

Another team led by Rabi Saiju, joint-secretary at the Commerce Ministry, is also leaving for China within a day or two to pursue a deal on the Transit and Transport Agreement. Nepal and China signed the agreement in 2016 for using Chinese sea and land ports for Nepal’s third country trade. Due to some technical differences, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on a common text.

“As soon as the Chinese side agrees, we’ll visit Beijing so that the Protocol on Transit and Transportation Agreement can be signed during the PM’s visit,” said Saiju.

The two sides are planning to sign more pacts related to connectivity, trade, investment, energy and tourism, among others, during the PM’s visit.

Published: 12-06-2018 08:28

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