Nepal urges China to open more passes, entry points

After fuel supplies to Nepal from India dwindled heavily for last one month, Kathmandu initiated process to import fuel from China.

Kathmandu: At a time when bilateral ties between Nepal and India have reached an all time low, the Himalayan nation has reached out to its northern neighbour China to trade in gasoline and for opening up more entry points and passes.

Nepal has already begun importing petrol from China provided by a grant, as the first consignment has already reached Kathmandu.

Of the total 1.3 million litres of fuel pledged by China, as much as 102,000 litres has arrived in Kathmandu, according to the Nepal Oil Corporation.

After fuel supplies to Nepal from India dwindled heavily for last one month, the government initiated process to import fuel from China.

To do more trade with China, Nepal needs to open up more trading points and passes as incumbent two passes - Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi - were severely damaged by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

During a customs officials meeting here on Wednesday, Nepalese side had requested to open up seven new trading routes with China -- Mustang, Larke in Gorkha, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Lamabagar in Dolakha, Yari in Humla, Mugu, and Olangchungola in Taplejung districts.


"Let's bring these trading points in operation within 12 months by upgrading the present status of the infrastructure in the border," said Damodar Regmi, deputy director general at the Department of Customs, who is leading the Nepali team at the annual border customs meeting.

Nepal is facing trade hiccups with China after two major trading routes - Tatopani-Khasa and Rasuwagadhi - Kerung were damaged by the quake.

"The current Indian embargo and disruption of two main trade routes in the north by the earthquake suggest that we need more routes that operate all year round," said Regmi.

During the last sixth meeting of the Nepal China Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee in August, the two neighbours had agreed to develop infrastructure at six existing points and to initiate study for building three "business roads" from Chekampar and Larke in Gorkha, Lamabagar and Mugu to connect Tibet.  

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