Chinese defy 2006 bilateral agreement at Nathu La

Gangtok, May 9: The border trade between India and China that is being carried out since 2006 has been stalled from 4th May after the goods taken by the Indian traders were not cleared by the Chinese authorities at Nathu La border gate. The Chinese authorities allegedly told the Sikkimese traders that they do not recognize the list of items approved by the Indian government. 

This particular move was communicated formally to the District Collector, East, Mr. D Anandan, who is also the border trade pass issuing authority by the newly formed Indo-China Border Trade (Sikkim) Association (ICBTSA) at his office in East district administrative centre on 9th May. The traders also shared their experiences of Wednesday, 4th May with the DC and the Director, Commerce and Industries department Mr K Kafley and Deputy Secretary Mrs Sumita Pradhan.

The Mart (Donqingang) in-charge of China side has informed the traders that they would impose tax per kilogram on the approved items which will be exported to China from India, as informed by the traders.

The DC said that custom duties cannot be imposed on border trade items as per the bilateral agreement of 2006 between India and China when the historic Nathu La border trade was resumed. The border trade has been going on smoothly for the past five years and no such issue of custom duty had been raised, it was further informed that the State Government has received no official communication stating that custom duty will be imposed, the DC added.

He further assured the traders that the Commerce and Industries Secretary will be writing to the Ministry of External Affairs on the issue of custom duty and not recognizing the exportable list of Indian items by the Chinese authorities. 

Since it is an international subject, the Indian government will take it up with the Chinese government on the issue of custom duty and why the goods were stopped. 

The State government would be writing to Ministry of External Affairs regarding the alleged decision of Chinese authorities to impose tax on Indian goods meant for the Nathu La border trade between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). In the meantime, the DC suggested the traders to maintain the channel of communication with their border trade counterparts and to resume trade if the Chinese authorities clear the present issue.

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