Nepal and China conclude protocol of TTA
- China allows Nepal to use four seaports, three land ports for third-country trade
Kathmandu, September 7
Though Nepal and China finalised the much-hyped protocol of Nepal-China Transit and Transportation Agreement today morning, ending the country’s sole dependence on Indian ports for overseas trade, experts have highlighted the need
for a proper and simplified implementation modality of the protocol to promote the country’s foreign trade via China.
Against the backdrop of Nepal’s third-country trade facing various procedural hassles when conducted via Indian ports, experts said that traders might not be attracted towards Chinese ports for third-country trade if the implementation mechanism of the Transit and Transportation Agreement is not trade-friendly.
“Some ports opened by the Chinese government for Nepal for third-country trade are relatively at a greater distance from Nepal’s border compared to the Indian ports currently in use. In such a context, traders will be attracted towards trade through China only if procedural hurdles are eased for cargo movement to and from the ports opened by China for Nepali traders,” said Purushottam Ojha, former commerce secretary.
The finalised draft of the protocol of Nepal-China Transit and Transportation Agreement has allowed Nepal to use Shenzen, Lianyungang, Zhanjiang and Tianjin seaports. The Tianjin seaport is the nearest port to Nepal, which lies at a distance of around 3,300 kilometres from Nepal border. Similarly, Nepal has been allowed to use Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse land ports (dry ports). As per the agreement, Nepali traders will be allowed to use any mode of transport — that is, rail or road — to access the seaports for third-country trade.
The Nepal-China bilateral meeting also decided to allow access for Nepali traders to the Chinese territory from six checkpoints — Rasuwa, Tatopani (Sindhupalchowk), Korala (Mustang), Kimathanka (Sankhuwasabha), Yari (Humla) and Olangchung Gola (Taplejung).
Meanwhile, though the finalisation of the trade and transit protocol between Nepal and China is historic, Rajan Sharma, former president of Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NFFA), said that the Chinese ports are only additional ports for Nepal and should not be taken as optional ports of Kolkata and Visakhapatnam,.
“These ports will be used basically when trade via India gets disturbed. However, friendly terms and conditions of trade via Chinese ports will encourage traders to look into prospects of third-country trade via the northern neighbour,” said Sharma.
As the draft of the protocol has been finalised, Sharma said that the government should work together with the traders in analysing the prospects of trade via concerned land and seaports, including issues related to effective mode of transportation of consignments, port fees, documents and other procedures while using the Chinese ports for overseas trade.
The Transit Transport Agreement with China, signed in March 2016 during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s China visit, will come into force once the protocol is exchanged following a high-level visit from one of the two neighbouring countries.