Chinese apples loaded in Khasa of Tibet can now directly reach to Nepal’s Larcha in Nepal-China border. The new arrangements have been made following a request from the Tatopani Customs Office of Nepal with the Chinese authorities, reports said Monday.

“Both Nepalese and Chinese sides have agreed to allow Chinese apple carriers until Larcha in bordering Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal,” said Nirmal Hari Adhikari, chief of Tatopani Customs Office, as quoted by Abhiyan daily. “This agreement will be implemented within two weeks,” Adhikari said, adding that the new arrangement will reduce transport costs significantly.

As of today, it costs Rs 90,000 (around $ 1,060 ) to transport goods from Friendship Bridge on Nepal-China border to Kathmandu, a distance of about 120 kms.With the apple carriers directly coming to Larcha, this transport cost is expected to decrease to Rs 50-60,000 (around $590 to 705).

“Once the quarantine and inland container depot promised to be constructed by the Chinese side comes into effect, Nepal’s export to China is also expected to boost up,” said Adhikari.

“Nepal’s Customs Office has been working hard to facilitate trade. But it is not enough and we are facing unnecessary difficulties in bilateral trade,” said Keshab Bahadur Raimajhi, an export-import businessman. “Apple carriers create traffic jam for other goods carrier. Therefore, it’s a wise decision to allow them unto Larcha,” he said.

Meanwhile, cross-border trade between the two countries will slow down for 10 days starting February 5 due to Losar festival in Tibet and that Chinese offices will remain closed during the period.

Recall, in December 2012, China and Nepal jointly laid the foundation stone for the much-anticipated Inland Container Depot or dry port in Nepal’s Larcha, near Tatopani customs on the northern border with China, the main trading gateway between the two neighbors.

The 13.8 million U.S. dollars project, which is expected to be completed in 26 months, also promises the construction of a 112- meter-long bridge over the Bhotekoshi River, which intersects the Arniko Highway connecting the border to Nepali capital Kathmandu.

According to Mukti Narayan Paudel, Director General of the Customs Department of Nepal, once the dry port is constructed, the current customs office in Tatopani will be transferred to Larcha, and that the Chinese cargo trucks could go directly to the dry port.

Sources: The Global Times Feb 2013 & Xinhua Dec 2012

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