China for more trade through Nathu La

2007-01-24 09:55:18 | From:

Though the Nathu La pass was opened for border trade between India and China on July 6, trade activity has not picked up till now and the Chinese government is disappointed with that.

Hao Peng, Deputy Chair-man of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told a delegation of Indian media persons on Thursday that the lack of momentum was mainly because of the absence of measures on the Indian side to facilitate trade. Mr Peng, who was present at Nathu La representing the Chinese government at the time of the opening of the pass, felt there was tremendous potential to increase trade through the pass, but facilities provided on the Indian side were not adequate.

He pointed out that traders from China could not stay on the Indian side while there were facilities on the Chinese side for India traders. He also felt the number of items on the approved list for trade was very small and could be increased. The entire trade between the two countries is now from port to port. Growth of overland trade will bring down prices of goods and help in the development of areas through which trade is conducted.

The unhappiness of the Chinese side with the lack of progress of trade at Nathu la was expressed by the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi, also at a meeting in Delhi last week. Mr Yuxi complained that while the Indian traders were required to get a permit from the government to trade at Nathu La, the Chinese government had allowed its traders free access to the pass. Procuring a trade permit for Nathu La was a difficult process and was a serious impediment to the improvement of trade volume.

Mr Hao Peng said the opening of the border could also help increase people-to-people and cultural contact between the two countries.

It is clear from interactions with Chinese authorities at different levels that there is an impression on the Chinese side, which has great expectations about the economic and other benefits that both countries would get from the opening of the pass, that the response from India is not as enthusiastic as its own. 

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