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Nathu La border trade ends for this year

November 30, 2008

deepikaglobal.com
November 27, 2008

Gangtok, Nov 27 (UNI) -- The third season of the Nathu La border
trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) today
concluded on an optimistic note with traders from both sides
expecting more fruitful years.

A simple function attended by state government officials, Sikkimese
traders and TAR traders at Sherathang trade mart located near the
Nathu La border marked the end of this year's season which began on
May 19, this year.

The participation of the TAR traders was pretty healthy compared to
the low turnout of the Sikkimese traders in the closing ceremony
summing up the response of local traders towards the border trade.

However, Sikkimese traders have dominated the border trade so far in
the past seven months of trade upto November 25.

Official records show that Sikkimese traders have managed to export
items worth Rs 95 lakhs to TAR.

The TAR businessmen could only sell items worth Rs 1.35 lakhs to
their Sikkimese counterparts during the whole trading season.

A brief meeting was held between the Sikkimese officials, traders and
TAR representatives on the closing ceremony which saw an exchange of
views and ideas as how the trade can be improved more.

The Chinese traders demanded more export of the items and also the
early revision of the lists of old items during the meeting, said one
state government official.

As per the bilateral agreement only scheduled items are allowed for
the border trade. Most of the items listed in the schedule are
obsolete and do not have commercial value, a fact which both Chinese
and Sikkimese traders have highlighted.

Sikkim government has been demanding the Centre to revamp the list of
items and put more commercially viable items to boost the border trade.

This is the third year of the border trade along the 14,400 ft
mountainous corridor of Nathu-La after a historic reopening on July 2006.

As per the bilateral agreement, only traders from Sikkim and TAR are
allowed to participate in this border trade for four days a week
during the trading season.

The fourth season of the trade is expected to commence from May 1, next year.
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