Demand to broaden list of tradable items through Nathu LaMay 3rd, 2009 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS
By Syed Zarir Hussain
Nathu La (Sikkim), May 3 (IANS) Indian trade bodies Sunday urged New Delhi to review the list of tradable items to boost business with China, a day before trading between the two countries resumes through the fabled Silk Road.
Border trade between the two countries is sluggish due to restrictions in tradable items - India can import 15 items from China including silk, yak pelts and horses, and export 29 goods that include textiles, tea, rice, vegetables and herbs.
“The list remains obsolete and we have urged the Commerce Ministry to review this list immediately so that a viable and vibrant trade can start through Nathu La,” S.K. Sarda, president of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce, told IANS.
“The Chinese traders have been selling just yak pelts and sheep wool. It is imperative that the two countries decide to review the present export-import list,” he said.
“The list of tradable items should be increased and include commodities like locally made beer, medicines, jam, processed food products, and floricultural and horticultural products so that business grows,” said an official of the Nathu La Traders’ Association.
Business people from both sides of the border were also seeking a broadening of the list of items traded through the pass.
The two Asian giants July 2006 re-opened trade across the 15,000-feet (4,545-metre) Nathu La Pass, 52 km east of Sikkim’s capital Gangtok, as part of a broader rapprochement. The move marked the first direct trade link between the nuclear-armed neighbours since a bitter border war in 1962.
Under the agreement, trade takes place four days a week — Monday to Thursday — beginning May each year and lasting until November 30 when snow makes the area impassable.
Last year, the two countries did business worth about Rs.9.6 million, while in 2007 the volume of trade was to the tune of Rs.2.6 million. Bilateral trade in the first season in 2006 through Nathu La saw business worth about Rs.2 million.
“There would be a small commemorative function Monday to mark the resumption of border trade for the fourth season between the two countries,” Ujjwal Gurung, Sikkim’s director of industries and commerce, said.
Although two-way trade was slow in the first three seasons, about 1,900 Chinese traders crossed the border separated by a rusty barbed wire marker to the bazaar of Sherathang, five kilometers below the pass on the Indian side.
About 1,200 Indian traders headed to the Renqinggang interim market in Tibet on the Chinese side, 16 km from the border, during the first three seasons.
Beijing in 2003 gave up its territorial claim over the Indian state of Sikkim, but was still holding on to its age old stand that a vast stretch of Arunachal Pradesh belongs to them.
China has never recognized the 1914 boundary, known as the McMahon Line, and claims 90,000 sq km — nearly all — of Arunachal Pradesh in India’s northeast. India also accuses China of occupying 38,000 sq km in Kashmir.
- Indians want upgrade on trade with China on Silk Route - Nov 16, 2010
- Border trade at Nathu La ends on sluggish note - Dec 02, 2009
- India urged to expand border trade with China - Jul 27, 2012
- Year's Nathu La trade concludes with Rs.9.6mn turnover - Dec 01, 2008
- India-China trade to reopen through Nathu La Friday - Apr 30, 2009
- Dismal start to Nathu La border trade between India, China - May 04, 2009
- Nathu La trade sluggish, Sikkim wants more items on trading list - Sep 24, 2008
- Trade through Nathu La begins amid fresh border row - May 19, 2008
- Nathu La trade to resume on Monday - May 03, 2009
- 'India, China must live as good neighbours' - Jul 05, 2012
- India, China hold maiden border mechanism talks - Mar 06, 2012
- 'Small negative list can take India-Pakistan trade to $6 bn' - Dec 16, 2011
- Show patience in resolving border issue, China advises India - Jun 27, 2012
- US hopes India, China resolve boundary issue - Sep 23, 2011
- Make roads first, rail tracks later: Arunachal residents - Aug 10, 2011
Tags: asian giants, association business, bilateral trade, border trade, border war, business worth, chinese traders, commerce ministry, gangtok, horticultural products, nathu la, pelts, rice vegetables, rs 2, sheep wool, sikkim, silk road, syed zarir hussain, trade bodies, traders association