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Nathula Pass trade draws blank as traders stay away



Sarikah Atreya
The Hindu Business Line
May 8, 2008

Gangtok, May 8 -- The much hyped border trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) through the Nathu La Pass has come unstuck.

No traders have stepped into trade marts located on both sides since the border trade was opened last Monday for the fourth year.

Though 60 Chinese traders had crossed the border and participated in the low-key inauguration ceremony of May 4 at Sherathang trade mart, they refrained from coming to the Sikkim side the next day, according to informed sources. unhappy Chinese traders

This reflected their loss of interest in the trade, said one local trader here. The Chinese traders are unhappy because the Indian Government is yet to accede to their request for reviewing the present list of trade items and including new items so as to make the border trade commercially viable. The Chinese traders, it is further learnt, were also not satisfied with the response they got on the inauguration day as their goods, all unlisted items, were not allowed into the trade mart. Sikkim traders

They were also particularly unhappy over the fact that none of the Sikkimese traders crossed the border on the first day to participate in the border trade at Renquinngang trade mart of TAR. Sikkimese presence

The presence of a few Sikkimese traders at the Sherathang trade mart on the opening day also contributed to their disappointment.

However, the Sikkimese traders were helpless as their applications for the mandatory travel pass were still lying pending with the East district administration which is the nodal agency to issue all such passes for the border trade.

The Sikkimese traders too reiterated that the old list of items would serve no purpose in present times and highlighted the need for new list of items.

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