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India-Tibet border trade awaits Chinese nod for resumption

May 27, 2009

Economic Times (India)
May 25, 2009

DEHRA DUN -- China has not given permission so
far to resume India-Tibet border trade from the
scheduled date of June 1, heightening the
suspense whether the traditional barter deals
would take place this year at all.

The Pithoragarh district authorities said they
have written to the Centre for early resumption
of the trade as well as passes required to visit Tibet.

"We are still waiting for an early reply from the
Centre," District Magistrate of Pithoragarh P S Gusain said.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had sent
letters to Beijing in this regard.

Even last year, the barter trade, which involves
exchange of goods like jaggery, wool, spices and
blankets between the two sides did not take place
because of Tibetan protests against Beijing Olympics.

The business worth Rs 1.5 crore was done two
years ago. Traders here are seeking resumption of
trade this season besides lifting the ban on
import of items like Chinese raw silk and live
stock which are in good demand in India.

The import of live stock has been banned since no
quarantine facility is available at Gunji, the Indian mart at Pithoragarh.

Landslides at a big stretch of a track in the
border district of Pithoragarh leading to
Taklakot have also cast a shadow over the event this year.

Traders have to trek a distance of 60 km from
Pithoragarh crossing inhospitable terrains to
reach Taklakot, the trade mart in Tibet, where
the two sides indulge in barter trade.

The India-Tibet barter trade, which was resumed
in 1992 after a gap of 30 years following the
1962 War, reached Rs 14 crore mark in 2004. But
after the ban on certain items like live stock
and Chinese silk, the volume of trade is gradually falling.
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