Gangtok,May 1 : The annual Sino-Indian border trade today commenced with the opening of Nathula Gate with Chinese and Indian officials exchanging ceremonious scarves (Khadas) at the border.
Principal Secretary, Commerce and Industries, Thomas Chandy, attended the opening ceremony with various top level government officials and seven executive members of Nathula Border Traders’ Association.
With this, the Chinese and and Indian traders will start selling their wares across their borders.
The Chinese traders come to Sherathang in India near Nathula Pass to sell their items, while the Indians trade at the Rienchengang in the Tibetan Autonomous Region(TAR).
This year export of at least Rs 50 crores is expected by India. In 2018, the export worth Rs 37,50,38,654 and imports to the tune of Rs 2,76,98,090 were recorded.
The trade through this passage will continue till November 30 next, after which it is discontinued due to extremely cold and harsh weather conditions.
The items to be exported and imported through Nathula Gate have been already agreed upon by the Indian and Chinese governments. While India will export 36 items, it will import 20 items as per the agreement.
This is the 14th edition of the annual Sino-indian border trade through Nathula Pass.
The bilateral border trade resumed in 2006 after a gap of 44 years. In 2017 again the trade suffered a setback due to Doklam crisis.
However, the traders attending the ceremony said that heavy snowfall will prevent them from accessing the market in Rienchengang in the Tibetan Autonomous Region(TAR) immediately.
"Due to inclement weather we will be able to cross over to specified Chinese mart only after 10 days or so," said T.Chepel, one of the traders attending the ceremony.
Another trader U.Subba said Indian traders will be able to apply for the passes only now as they are issued in the month of May with the opening of the border trade season, which also delays the business.
The documents are issued within 10 to 15 days after police verification and other formalities are completed. (UNI)