By N24 Correspondent, KATHMANDU:- Despite pretending to be a “true friend” of Nepal when it is a matter of interfering in Nepal’s internal affairs, China’s response to reopening Nepal’s two border trade points in Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi has been highly unresponsive and lackluster, according to officials at Nepal’s Ministry of Trade and Supplies.
“We invited Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi several times to come to the Ministry and talk about the obstacles in bilateral trade. But she did not provide us a time,” said the Ministry officials, who did not want to be named.
“We have also invited Indian Ambassador to Nepal several times for a meeting at the Ministry, and he has warmly accepted our invitation and given us time to discuss and remove hurdles in bilateral trade,” the officials further said.
Of the total Nepal-China trade, 20 percent of the trade is carried out through these two land routes of Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi, while the remaining 80 percent of the trade is done through the sea route via India. The trade volume of these land routes may be smaller, but they help Nepal import the most essential and important goods from China and the third countries.
“Since last one year, more than 1200 containers are stuck at the border of Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi waiting for a permission to get through,” said Naresh Katuwal, an importer. “This has badly affected smaller traders and importers like me, as we are struggling to sustain in this business.”
The obstruction in bilateral trade has been witnessed even after Nepal and China signing a trade and transit agreement in 2016. The agreement provided Nepal an access to four Chinese sea ports of Shenzhen, Tianjin, Zhanjiang and Lianyungang and three Chinese land ports of Shigatse, Lhasa and Lanzhou for import and export from the third countries.
“Despite the trade and transit agreement in place, China and its ambassador are only interested in the political affairs of Nepal. Chinese ambassador Yanqi visits Nepal’s political leaders in their private residences, but she has no time to resolve the trade issue going to the Ministry of Trade and Supplies, which is literally at a stone’s throw away from her Embassy,” said an analyst aware of Nepal’s bilateral geopolitical relations with China.
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