Beijing has imposed an undeclared blockade for the past two years at transit points along the Nepal-China border, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this Nepalese traders are going through severe economic crisis and are being forced to commit suicide. China has allowed only a few containers to cross the transit points on the Nepal-China border for the past two years.
Sudarshan Ghimire, the owner of Sweat Barha Enterprises, committed suicide on September 6 this year. Hare Ram Poudel, a young entrepreneur involved in the import and supply of Chinese goods to the Nepalese market, committed suicide on October 13, 2020. His goods were stuck on the Nepal-China border for months. He had a huge debt on him. They were caught in a double trap. On one hand, they were going through a financial crisis, on the other hand banks and other moneylenders were demanding their dues.
Nepal’s trade with the China border has been affected since the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019. Several meetings and discussions have been held to facilitate trade between the two countries. An agreement was also reached to make the border operate in two directions, but this has yet to be implemented.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently visited Nepal. During this, he had assured to ease import and export from both the northern ports and to take measures to overcome the problem. But border restrictions have not been relaxed yet. Nepal’s Foreign Minister Dr. Narayan Khadka had visited China last August. He had discussed the border issue with China, but that too has not yielded any results so far.