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Goods Worth Rs1.14 Cr Bartered In Trade Between India, China

Coming out of the shadow of the Doklam standoff which had greatly impacted ties between India and China last year, the volume of trade between both countries has doubled as goods worth Rs 1.14 crore were bartered by traders from both sides of the border.

The trade that concluded on Friday saw 72 from the tribal district of Kinnuar making more than one trip to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China. Last year, the trade had reduced drastically to a mere Rs 59.21 lakh from Rs 8.59 crore in 2016 because of tension.

The trade is being undertaken across the 18,599-ft Shipki La Pass between the two countries since 1992 and it has registered a steady increase in the last four years, barring the last year.

The official trade period is from June 1 to November 30 every year along the old Hindustan-Tibet road. Though till date not even a single Chinese trader has visited India, traders from this side have kept the trade going.

“We are so glad that the ancient trade ties between India and China are looking up as the trade this year was worth Rs 1.14 crore after touching a low last year,” said Hishey Negi, president of the Kinnaur Indo-China Trade Association.

He said a total of 96 trade passes were issued and 72 traders from Kinnaur crossed the border with their goods. He said it was owing to various factors such as Doklam, the GST and demonetisation which had hit the trade.

Negi said the traders had been demanding the setting up of a quarantine laboratory at Chupan and Namgiya to pave the way for the resumption of livestock trade such as chiku goats, horses and mules. There is great demand for livestock on either side of the border even though its trade was banned about five years ago.

The traders have from time to time been demanding the construction of a mule track to facilitate travelling with their goods. They also lamented the delay in setting up pre-fabricated structures at Shipki with electricity, water, canteen, toilet facility and sheds for mules on the Indian side.

A total of 36 items figure on the export list while there are only 20 goods in the import list. More than 10 new items, including Chinese handicrafts, carpets and herbal medicines, were included in the trade list in 2012 to increase the quantum of trade.