There is a good sign that the impediments seen in the free flow of merchandise in the border between Nepal and China will turn to normalcy in the near future. China has expressed its appreciable gesture of friendship and a sense of cooperation when it said the other day that facilitating trade with Nepal is its priority. The assurance from the northern immediate neighbour, which boasts of being the second largest economy of the world, carries a lot of significance in Nepal’s efforts for development. The assurance comes in the wake of growing call in the clearance of merchandise trucks at Nepal-China border entry points. Chinese ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi said that efforts are continuing to facilitate the movement of trade goods to Nepal from China.
According to a news report carried by this daily on Tuesday, authorities on both sides of the border are trying their best to ease the smooth movement of cargo containers across the border. Movements of trade merchandise were halted in the border after the outbreak of COVID-19. Items in the merchandise include food items, and if these types of goods cannot reach their destinations in time, damages and expiries occur. That can cause huge losses to the concerned business houses. It is not the matter of food carrying containers alone. Delayed deliveries will adversely affect the trade of any kind of items involved. Both the sides should consider the sensitivities about timely transportation of trade items and resume the trans-border movement of container trucks.
The Chinese envoy, during a virtual interaction with journalists, said that it was in context to deal with the more serious issue of coronavirus transmission that the border points were shut, more so in the Tibetan plateau because of the thin oxygen level. COVID-19 infection fears should be taken seriously but the transport snag should not drag on in the wake of China’s control over the virus spread. It is said that container trucks have been partially allowed to move across the border. According to the news report, 10 container trucks from Tatopani and 20 from Rasuwagadhi Keyrung border points are entering Nepal daily. Chinese ambassador Hou has said that partial movement of container trucks across the border involves a technical issue. For instance, she said, the dry port lacks adequate space on the Nepali side.
It is evident that the Nepal-China border entry points are located at difficult terrains and reliable infrastructures are in the process of further construction. The destructive earthquake of 2015 had caused major damage to Tatopani containers depot and the Araniko Highway connecting the capital Kathmandu. In addition, major monsoon-triggered natural disasters are also occurring along this highway in Sindhupalchowk district. Landslides, floods and river blockage are common during the monsoon season. The highway was completely blocked in the aftermath of the earthquake but now it is operational. In this situation, authorities on both sides should strive to let the container trucks move in their full capacity to facilitate the trade between the two countries. Chinese envoy Hou has ruled out any political reason behind this trade snag.