November 24: The foreign trade data of the current Fiscal Year (FY 2021/22) obtained from the country’s largest custom point in Birgunj shows that the economic activities that were affected by the pandemic is slowly returning back to normal.
Imports and exports through Birgunj customs have increased by 92 percent in the first four months of the current fiscal year. According to the Birgunj customs, this amount is significantly higher than the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Harihar Poudel, Chief Customs Officer of Birgunj Customs, said that transactions of Rs 264.27 billion took place via this customs point from mid-July to mid-November.
In the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, this amount was Rs 137.60 billion. Last year, the lockdown and prohibitory order were imposed from March to control the pandemic. The market could not gain momentum even though it was reopened in September. Customs officials claim that the lockdown affected the volume of foreign trade. Adverse effects of the lockdown led to a decline in domestic production and foreign trade.
Foreign goods worth Rs 224.71 billion have been imported until mid-November through the Birgunj customs. During this period, domestic products worth Rs 39.56 billion were exported.
The data show that imports have increased by 80 percent in the last four months compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year. According to the Birgunj customs, export trade has increased by 218 percent.
Goods worth Rs 125 billion were imported into the country during the first four months of the last fiscal year while goods worth Rs 12.44 billion were exported.
Petroleum products, vehicles, industrial raw materials and other goods are mostly imported from Birgunj. Likewise, refined edible oil, juice, drinks, textiles, scarves, etc. are exported from this checkpoint.
Most of the goods that entered through Birgunj customs were from India. While goods worth Rs 158 billion were imported from India, export to India accounted for Rs 38.2 billion.
India is the largest market for export trade of Nepal. The trade deficit with India alone is equivalent to Rs 120 billion through Birgunj customs.
As per the customs office, goods worth Rs 13.89 billion were imported from China while the export to China amounted to Rs 13 million. Chairman of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Subodh Kumar Gupta says that the size of foreign trade has increased as the economic activities which were halted during the pandemic have started gaining momentum.