Border trade between India and China through Nathu La has gained momentum, with the country's export turnover in the last month alone indicating a significant growth.
According to figures released by the Sikkim Commerce and Industries Department, the turnover of export from India reporting a figure of Rs 7.20 lakh in July.
The export turnover at Nathu La, which reopened on May 19 this year, for the two till June stood at about Rs eight lakh export turnover. The total export turnover up to now stands at Rs 15.67 lakh.
Textile products like shawls, blankets, utensils and copper items were much sought after by Chinese importers in view of the growing demand for them by the people of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Commerce and Industry Department officials said.
Products like vegetable oil, canned food, tea, cigarettes and coffee were also much in demand by Chinese importers, they said.
Expressing satisfaction with the growth of bilateral border trade this year, the officials said that with Beijing Olympics 2008 coming to an end on August 24, the volume of the bilateral border trade was expected to pick up with the larger participation of traders of the two countries.
However, the apparent lack of interest among Indian traders to import goods from China has been a major cause of concern for the state, which wants the full-fledged bilateral trade in the next couple of years in view of its long-term economic benefit for the Himalayan state.
The import of Chinese goods were not profitable for Indian traders since these had to be consumed in Sikkim itself as per the Centre's guidelines, Indo-China Traders Association of Sikkim (ICTAS) spokesman D Mundhra told PTI here.
Taking into account the cost of transport from Gangtok to the Nathu La border and other costs, the import of Chinese goods would not not be profitable for Indian traders unless the Centre allowed them to sell these products throughout the country, Mundhra said.
The ICTAS spokesman also said that the list of goods (29 items in export list at present) should be revised and ban on export of non-basmati rice by the Centre should be removed in order to boost bilateral border trade as these items had become obsolete for trade.
The items on the export list from China should also be revised and updated, as there were not many buyers of these commodities from the Indian side, he said.
Stating that the ICTAS and the state commerce and industry department officials had time and again demanded revision of the items on the export list, Mundhra said that the Centre had not not taken appropriates steps to boost the Nathu La border trade.