February 17: Traders have been facing problems in importing readymade garments for the summer season due to the closure of Nepal-China border for more than a year.
Importers and traders have to import goods through India after the northern border of Nepal was closed to prevent coronavirus from spreading. Traders complain that it has made the transportation cost expensive and they even have to spend more time importing goods.
Under normal circumstances, traders used to import goods from China through Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani customs. However, at present, goods have to be imported from India via the sea route for which they have to pay three times more than the normal fare. Due to this, the price of goods has also increased.
According to Dil Sunder Shrestha, executive committee member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), the charge for importing a container of goods via sea route was just US$ 1800 during normal circumstances. But, at present, it costs more than US$ 5,000 per container. Shrestha added that this has led to price hike and the general consumers have to face the burden at the end.
At present, importers and traders have not been able to go to China to select goods and import them. So the goods are being ordered online. China is one of the major suppliers of readymade garments to Nepal. According to traders, 60 percent of the readymade garments imported to Nepal come from China, 30 percent from India and 10 percent from Bangladesh and Thailand. Garments worth Rs 80 billion are imported annually for both winter and summer seasons.
Under normal circumstances, it would take up to 15 days to bring the goods via sea. However, now the traders complain that the goods take up to two months to arrive in the country.
Rajendra Lama, a local trader of New Road, said that the failure to import goods on time has affected their business as they have not been able to provide goods to the retailers on time.
At present, the import from Tatopani Customs and Rasuwagadi Customs has been halted as the customs and other offices have been closed for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Prior to this, five vehicles carrying goods used to enter Nepal through Rasuwagadi customs on a daily basis.