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China’s Covid closure of Tibetan border ports set to spoil Nepal’s festive season

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug23’22) – Nepal’s Dashain festival shopping season is likely to be significantly affected by the fact that goods bought for it from Tibet and China have been stuck on the Tibetan side across its Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi border towns over the past three weeks due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by China, according to a kathmandupost.com report Aug 24. More goods trucks destined for Nepal could be struck in other covid-hit areas in the People’s Republic of China, the report said.

The Nepali embassy in Beijing has said it will negotiate with Chinese authorities as traders fear their investment worth billions of rupees will sink if they miss the festive shopping season. However, traders as well as officials have said chances of China allowing the stranded goods to enter Nepal before Dashain were slim.

Dashain Festival, the Nepali version of the Hindu festival Vijay Dashmi, is the biggest and longest festival and it will be celebrated this year from Sep 26 to Oct 5.

Covid cases were increasing in Tibet and even some Nepalis staying there have been infected, the report said.

Issuing a press statement on Aug 22, the Consulate General of Nepal in Lhasa has said that Covid cases were rising in Tibet which had forced China to impose a complete lockdown in Lhasa, Shigatse, Nyalam, Kerung and other places, the report said.

Except for essential sectors like health, all other government offices were stated to be closed on the Tibetan side.

“Due to the lockdown, it is difficult to contact the Commerce Department in Tibet,” the statement was quoted as saying.

The stranded trucks were stated to contain goods that included perishable items.

“We came to know through the traders and transporters that containers ready to head for Nepal carrying goods like apple, garlic and other food items, electric vehicles, among others, targeting the festival, have been stuck in different places of Tibet,” the press statement was quoted as saying.

Goods that have arrived in Guangzhou, even if rerouted through the sea, will take more than a month and a half to arrive in Nepal, Naresh Katuwal, immediate past president of the Federation of Nepal National Business, has said.

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