Nepal-China transit deal ends total dependence on Indian sea ports

Kathmandu, September 7

China has agreed to allow to Nepal to use its ports for import and export of goods from third countries. The landmark agreement, reached during a meeting of officials from both the countries, in Kathmandu on Thursday, puts an end to land-locked Nepal’s total dependence on India for international trade.

According to the soon-to-be-signed agreement, China has agreed to allow Nepal to use the facilities at its ports such as Tianjin, Shenzen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang. Similarly, China has also agreed to provide access to Lanzhou, Lhasa and Shigatse dry ports.

“We have also discussed customs clearance procedure and other trade-related issues,” says Nawaraj Dhakal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

However, China is yet to propose routes to connect Nepal to its port facilities.

The key meeting took place two years after Beijing agreed to allow Nepal to use its ports to trade goods with third countries, ending Kathmandu’s sole dependence on India for overland trade. The agreement was reached during Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit to China in March.

Nepal has been relying on India for movement of goods to and from its trading partners. During the 2015 Indian Blockade, there were calls to end the dependence on India and to seek access to Chinese ports. Following the agreement between China and Nepal, India too had agreed to open its Vishakhapatnam Port for Nepali traders.

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