Nepal | August 09, 2020

Transit-transport talks with China positive

Lekhanath Pandey
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Kathmandu, November 18

Nepal and China today agreed on a ‘preliminary outline’ of the proposed transit-transport protocol. A senior official level meeting of Nepal’s Ministry of Commerce and Chinese Department of Transport concluded in Lhasa, Tibet, today.

During the three-day meeting, Nepali and Chinese officials agreed on the ‘basic outline’ of the proposed protocol, which the Nepali side had forwarded to the Chinese side earlier this year, according to Consul General of Nepal to Lhasa Gobinda Bahadur Karki.

Karki told The Himalayan Times over phone from Lhasa that the two sides discussed aspects of the protocol and agreed on the broader topics under the transit-trade protocol, such as possible truck routes, railways, standard of the convoys, weights of goods to be transported via such routes, qualification of vehicle-drivers, possible railway stations and ports of entry, including dry ports and sea ports were discussed and incorporated in the preliminary draft.

“We have agreed upon the basic outline of the deal. The details on the outline will be discussed in the next meetings,” Karki added, the deal might be finalised after several meetings between the two sides.

Karki said both the sides had agreed to discuss the draft during a meeting in Kathmandu soon.

The exact date for the meeting has not been confirmed.

An official, however, told this daily that the Chinese side said some of the matters of the protocol should be discussed at political level and urged the Nepali side to come up with a clear stance before discussing its contents in detail.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bharat Raj Paudyal said this was a technical-level meeting in which officials from relevant ministries, including ministries of commerce, physical infrastructure and transport and foreign affairs participated.

Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary Rabi Shankar Saiju led the Nepali delegation while the Chinese team was led by Chinese Transport Department Director General Wang Ya.

Nepal and China signed the transit-transport agreement when the then prime minister, KP Sharma Oli, had paid an official visit to China in March.

Meanwhile, Chinese side has also become positive to allow Nepali vehicles to use more Tibetan highways, including via Kerung port, for the purpose of supplying goods to remote mountainous districts of Nepal, according to Consul General Karki.

After a transport protocol agreement was signed between China and Nepal in 2005, Nepali vehicles were allowed to use three Tibetan highways via Tatopani port of entry to deliver goods in mountainous districts, such as Dhading, Darchula, Dolpa and Humla.

“We have requested China to allow Kerung entry point for supplying goods in mountainous districts using some 13 Tibetan highways,” Karki said. “The Chinese side seems quite positive about the proposal.”

A version of this article appears in print on November 19, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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