Sun, 25 Oct 2020

KATHMANDU, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Rasuwagadhi-Kerung (Geelong) border point between Nepal and China has reopened after closure for around three weeks, a senior official Nepali customs official said.

The border point, which is one of the key trade routes between the two neighbours, was closed around three weeks ago after a Nepali worker who used to load goods to cargo trucks, was found infected with the novel coronavirus.

Earlier, the border point reopened in early July after closing for nearly six months firstly due to snowfall in the bordering Chinese region and later the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

"Two containers of medical goods entered into Nepal after the reopening of border point on Wednesday," Punya Bikram Khadka, chief customs officer at Rasuwagadhi customs office, told Xinhua on Wednesday evening. "Now, we hope the movement of goods will take place normally."

According to him, there has been a restricted flow of goods through this border as both countries have adopted zero human-to-human contact policy between the two sides until the pandemic is over.

The latest reopening of the border will be important for bilateral trade as Nepal imports a significant chunk of goods this time around targeting the upcoming festival seasons that will begin in late October.

Upcoming festivals of Dashain, Tihar and Chhat are major festivals of Nepal.

Tatopani-Zhangmu, another border point, which reopened in late March after closing in January, has also remained closed for the last few months.

Nepal imported goods worth 305 million U.S. dollar in the last fiscal year 2019-20 that ended in mid-July, according to Nepali central bank's statistics. Nepal's export to China through these two border points stood at 6 million U.S. dollar.

Meanwhile, virtual trade talks between Nepal and China are scheduled to be held in late September. Nepal's Foreign Minister and the government's spokesperson Pradeep Kumar Gyawali told a press conference on Wednesday that the talks would be concentrated on establishing special economic zones across the border, development of trade infrastructure and reopening of more border points.

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