Gangtok: The sixth edition of Nathu-la border trade with Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China will start on May 2 this year. It will continue till November 30 when the pass at 14,420 ft closes down for winte. Under the bilateral agreement between India and China, there are 29 exportable items. Sikkim traders are allowed to export them to TAR. But the Indian business community can import only 15 items. The trade through the Nathu La pass started in 2006.
The fifth edition of Indo-China trade through the Nathu-La border in 2010 recorded absolute zero import. In 2009 also the Nathu-La border trade closed for the season recording zero import.
As per the official record 2010 saw exports worth a little over Rs 4 crore. Canned foods, utensils, textiles, copper items, vegetable oil, tea, cigarette, coffee, misri, and blankets have been the most popular export items.
China’s In-charge of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), Ms Kesang Diki said that the reason for zero import was because of the non-feasible list of items for trade across the historic post. She requested the Indian Government to expanding the trade list so as to cater to today’s market demands.
As per the bilateral agreement in 2006 only 29 items can be exported to TAR from the Indian side while the Chinese traders can export only 15 items. Most of these items listed in the schedule are obsolete and do not have commercial value, a fact both the Chinese and the Sikkimese traders have highlighted in the past four years.
The Chinese traders, however, did brisk business by selling non-permitted items such as blankets, woollen jackets and carpets to tourists and locals. Custom officials said it was difficult to check imports of such items in the absence of adequate staff.
(With inputs from The Hindu and PTI)