Transit and Trade Agreement signed, Nepal allowed to use Chinese sea and land ports

After several rounds of talks and discussions, the Transit and Trade Agreement between Nepal and China has been signed. Nepal may now use 4 sea ports (Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang, and Zhanjiang) and 3 dry (land) ports (Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse/Shigatse) of China to trade with third party nations. The protocol breaks a long standing Nepalese reliance on India for trade with other nations.

The two nations on Monday signed the Protocol on implementing the TTA in the presence of President Bidhya Bhandari and her Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and Minister for Transport of China Li Xiaopeng signed the agreement, therefore ratifying the TTA. Six other agreements were also signed by the two nations after delegation level talks between leaders of the two nations.

China will now permit Nepalese trucks ferrying Nepalese goods to the rest of the world up till Xigatse dry port and similarly allow Nepalese inbound cargo from Xigatse to Nepal. Accordingly, Nepalese traders may use any mode of transport (rail/road) to either import or export their cargoes to/from Xigatse. For the purpose, any of the four permitted seaports may be used.

The Transit and Transport Agreement has also listed access to Chinese territory from six checkpoints – Rasuwagadhi, Tatopani in Sindhupalchowk, Korala in Mustang, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha, Yari in Humla, and Olangchung Gola in Taplejung.

The other six agreements signed between the two nations are:

  1. Handover Certificate of Grant-Aid for the Repair and Reinforcement Project of the Existing China-aided Projects

  2. Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters

  3. Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Standardization

  4. Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation
  5. Minutes of Meeting on Strengthening Assistance Cooperation in the Field of Livelihood in the Northern Region of Nepal

  6. Agreement on Preventing Theft, Clandestine Excavation and Illicit Export Import of Cultural Property.

The agreements were signed during President Bhandari’s official visit to China beginning from April 24. President and the delegation will return home on 2 May 2019.

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