Nathu La border trade finally picks up momentum

Nathu La pass

The export value of Rs 9.24 lakh is an improvement from Rs 7 lakh that was recorded for the same month last year, commerce and industries department official said here.
Last month's success came despite the limited number of goods on the trade list, inclement weather and poor infrastructure on Jawahar Lal Nehru Road linking Gangtok and Nathu La, the official said.
However, Indian traders did not not import anything from their counterparts from Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) last month as there are no takers in Sikkim for the goods on the trade list of China , he said.
The official stressed on the need for revision of the list of goods for export and import between the two regions and said the Centre has been repeatedly urged to undertake the task and take it up with their Chinese counterparts to make the border trade a worthwhile proposition.

The Indo-Chinese Traders Association of Sikkim (INTAS) too bemoaned at the indifference of the governments of the two countries to revitalise the Nathu La border trade as a sustainable business proposition on long-term basis.
The Nathu La border trade will become a ritual if the two countries failed to take up a policy decision to review the goods on the trade list both for business and consumption, an INTAS representative said.
The historic Silk Route through Nathu La was re-opened for border trade in 2006 after a gap of four decades in an indication of thaw in Sino-Indian relation.
As per a bilateral agreement, India had set up a trade mart at Sherathang in China and China at Renquingang to allow traders to visit the marts across the border.
India released a list of 29 items, mostly consumer goods for local use against 15 of China.
The Nathu La border trade had grown in volumes since 2006 with the last year's trade volume recording the highest turn over at Rs 9.5 million.

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