Market facing shortage of Chinese apparels

Kathmandu, March 1

As the country’s trade with China has been completely halted, the domestic market is running out of stock of Chinese goods, especially apparels and traders have said that the market will start witnessing a shortage of Chinese apparels soon.

The government shut the Rasuwagadi border on January 28 to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the number of infections in China soared. As a result, traders said that hundreds of Nepal-bound containers have been stalled in China while the domestic market is running out of stock of Chinese goods, especially clothes.

“As the border is shut, we have not been able to import apparels from China while all the stocks have been cleared. The market has already started facing shortage of apparels,” said Alok Poudel, a Thamel-based apparel trader. As per him, outlets lack new summer wears while the demand for winter clothes is falling with the rising mercury.

According to traders, more than 70 per cent of apparels in the domestic market are imported from the northern neighbour. Nepal had imported apparels worth more than Rs 200 billion from China in last fiscal year 2018-19.

“As it is still uncertain on when the Chinese border will be reopened, the market will start facing acute shortage of different clothing brands,” said Sambhu Acharya, another trader based in New Road.

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

Meanwhile, Kamalesh Agrawal, vice-president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said that the domestic market is certain to face difficulties amid the coronavirus affecting the global market and the economy.

“We have no option other than to just wait and hope that the coronavirus outbreak is contained as early as possible,” he said.