Nepal, China trade set to normalise soon

  • rasuwagadhi-kerung border point
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 1, 2017-

Nepal’s trade with China via Rasuwagadhi and Kerung, which virtually came to a halt several days ago following Chinese customs clearing agents’ decision to raise cargo clearing-forwarding fee, will normalise soon, as the Chinese side has partially rolled back its previous decision to inflate the tariff.

The Chinese customs clearing agents had recently raised cargo clearing-forwarding fee by over three-fold from 1,500 renminbi per container to 5,000 renminbi per container. Following this, Nepali traders had stopped releasing goods from the Chinese side, bringing Nepal-China trade via Rasuwagadhi-Kerung, the country’s only gateway for land trade with the northern neighbour, to a standstill.

“We expect cargo movement to normalise soon as the Chinese customs clearing agents have reduced the clearing-forwarding fee to 2,500 renminbi per container,” said Kedar Paneru, chief of Rasuwagadi Customs Office. The decision to reduce the fee to 2,500 renminbi came into effect on Monday.

“Nepali traders are happy with this decision and they have already initiated the process of releasing goods from the Chinese side,” Paneru said.

On Monday alone, the Chinese customs clearing agents prepared documents for the release of around 396 cargo vehicles. “These vehicles will start entering Nepal soon,” Paneru said.

Since the Chinese government closed Tatopani customs point after the devastating April 2015 earthquake, Rasuwagadhi-Kerung is the only entry point for land-based trading with the northern neighbour. 

The trade route was officially opened for bilateral trading on December 2, 2014.

On a normal day, around 50-70 cargo containers pass through Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route. But trading through this route is not very smooth, as various segments usually get hit by landslides. Also, traders and cargo trucks face a lot of problems on this route because of poor customs and road infrastructure on the Nepal side.

As per the international norms, international border points must house immigration, customs, police, quarantine offices and banks. However, on the Nepali side, most of the customs clearing works are done through tents, while a police check post has been built using corrugated metal sheets. The immigration and customs offices are located one and half kilometres away from the border in Timure.

The lack of basic equipment has forced police to check commuters by standing in poor tents and check goods using hands.

Nepal imports goods such as apples, readymade garments, footwear, toys, herbs like jimbu, cosmetics and electronics through this border point. In return, Nepal exports flour, chilli, rice, noodles and fruit juice, among others.

Published: 01-08-2017 08:19

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