27 Nov : The annual border trade through the historical silk route at Nathu La on the Sino-India border on Thursday concluded with Indian traders making an impressive turnover of about Rs 68 lakh, nearly doubling the last year’s business.
The state commerce and industries department officials and traders of the two countries attended a formal function at Nathu La this afternoon to mark the conclusion of the trade.
While, the Indian traders have done a business of about Rs 68 lakh through export, the import from across the border was a lukewarm affair at about Rs two lakh, according to the department officials.
Utensils and woollen clothes were in great demand at Sherathang mart as the traders from Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) reached in good numbers on most of the trading days to purchase these goods from India, they said.
The Indian traders, on the other hand, did not evince interest in buying the Chinese goods apparently due to lack of demand for them in markets of Sikkim as the traders are required to sell Chinese goods in the local markets only, the officials said.
The turnover of the Indian traders could have been much more if the Centre had not imposed ban on export of non-basmati rice as the cereal was said to be in great demand from the buyers of TAR, they said.
The officials also stressed on the need for revision of the goods on the trade list of both countries in order to make the bilateral border trade more meaningful as most of the items of the list at present appeared to be outdated and did not have demand in the markets
India and China had re-opened Nathu La border trade in 2006 after a gap of 44 years in an indication of thaw between the neighbours.
The Chinese authorities had set up a mart at Renquingang in TAR and the Indian Government built a similar mart at Sherathang in Sikkim to facilitate trading of goods between the two countries.
India and China also finalised a list of 29 and 15 goods for trading through the marts on either side of Nathu La border and the duration of the trade was for seven months between May and November each year.
The traders of the two countries are required to obtain mandatory security passes and identification numbers for visiting the trade marts of the two countries.