Saturday, October 18, 2014

Border Trade does good business GANGTOK:

The ninth season of border trade between India and China over Nathula, although still much short of its projected potential, continues to grow substantially despite being hobbled by a disinterested bureaucracy and an infrastructure in tatters. Border Trade broke into the eight-figure club in exports in the month of August [and sustained the volume in September], with the official record on imports noticeably lower in the six-figure realm.
As per the records with the Customs Division posted at Sherathang Trade Mart here, traders from Sikkim exported 13 items in August worth Rs. 2,00,22,150 and imported six items worth Rs. 8,10,250. Meanwhile, in the month of September, 12 items were exported worth Rs. 3,46,77,330 and the scale of imports grew as well to Rs. 18,72,000 despite the inclement weather and poor road conditions through most of the month.
Sikkim traders have imported carpets, readymade garments, blankets, shoes, jacket and quilts from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.
When it comes to official data, it is exports which rake in the proverbial moolah.
Sikkim traders exported vegetable oil worth Rs. 1.71 crore in the month of September with processed foods coming next at Rs. 55 lakh, Rs. 25.93 lakh worth of rice and blankets billed at Rs.20.03 lakh, it is reported.
The volume of trade has grown substantially over last year and as trading comes to a close [official date 01 November], it is bound to spike in the upcoming final weeks.
Interestingly, although traders from Sikkim make such a substantial volume of exports, they remain unwilling to travel across to Rinchengang, the trade mart on the Tibetan side, at least not in the scale that traders from TAR travel to Sherathang. Most traders from Sikkim transact their business at Sherathang.

Officials inform that after list of items allowed for border trade was revised in 2012, the volume of trade has picked up substantially. Trade over Nathula was resumed in 2006 after a 42 year hiatus and because of the obsolete list of items allowed for trade, the first five years of trading saw zero imports! Then, trade improved in 2012 with the revision of the list and jumped higher in 2013, the year when the consolidated volume of imports through the border trade season for the year crossed the one core mark [Rs. 1.16 crore] for the first time.
As for exports, 2013 season saw exports to the tune of Rs. 8 crores.

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