Government unlikely to reopen Rasuwagadi border soon

Kathmandu, March 11

The Rasuwagadi border, which has been shut since January 29 to prevent the spread of coronavirus, is unlikely to be reopened any time soon, as per officials at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS).

As per officials at the ministry, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta has taken a stance that the government cannot take any risk by reopening trade borders with China as the virus is yet to be contained in the northern neighbour.

The Nepal-China trade has been halted since January-end.

Hence, hundreds of containers bound for both Nepal and China have been stalled at the border points for months.

“The leadership in the ministry is in no mood to reopen the border with China and facilitate trade citing that human health is more important than trade between the two nations.

Thus, it is unlikely that the shut border with China will be reopened soon,” informed an MoICS official seeking anonymity.

Moreover, officials at the ministry said that border with China may not be reopened till coronavirus is fully contained in China.

The Rasuwagadi border, which is a major trading point between Nepal and China, was initially shut for 15 days on January 29. However, as the coronavirus epidemic showed no sign of abating, the government had decided to continue the closure of Rasuwagadi border until further notice.

China is Nepal’s second-largest trading partner after India. While Nepal exported goods worth Rs 863 million to China in first five months of the current fiscal, it imported goods worth Rs 88.6 billion from there in the same period.

Nepal primarily exports handicraft goods to China and imports readymade garments, footwear, chemical fertilisers, electrical goods, machinery parts, pipes, raw silk, telecommunication and TV equipment and parts from China.