Friday, June 22, 2007

Nathula border trade disappointingly one-sided

Import through Nathula draws a blank

GANGTOK: Though it has been a year since Nathula in East Sikkim was reopened after over four decades for border trade with China, trading activities are yet to pick up through the route.
"Trade through the route has remained disappointingly one-sided this season with a handful of Sikkimese traders exporting rice and a few others permitted edibles worth just a couple of lakhs and imports are drawing a blank so far," Director, Commerce and Industries Department, S P Subba said.
The second season of trading through the route began on May 1 this year.
The official attributed zero import through the pass to an extremely outdated list of importable items from China which includes things like goat skin, sheep skin, yak hair and yak tail.
"How can we expect our traders to import such items from China in today's hi-tech world," he asked.
Revision and expansion of the list of importable items must be given due consideration by the governments of the two countries to stimulate trading activities through the route, he said.
Even the trade bodies in Sikkim have been demanding expansion of the list of both exportable and importable items through the route ever since it was opened in July last year.