An agreement was signed between the two countries which will give Nepal an access to Chinese ports with China and other south Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and others. An official statement from Nepal’s Commerce Minister stated that the meeting in Kathmandu was finalized giving Nepal access to the Chinese ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang. Nepal and China concluded talks on Nepal-China Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) which was signed in March 2016.
Geographically, Nepal is a Himalayan landlocked nation which needs access to the port from the other nation. Nepal was depended highly on India for trade export and has given access to Indian ports in Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam for export.
The ties between India-Nepal have not been cordial since March 2015 as the Madhesi in Nepal were not given the constitutional rights. In 2016, India reacted by blocking Nepal- India border by not allowing trucks or vehicles to pass through the country by which the economy suffered a major setback as no fuel, food was transferred to the nation. Seeing India’s stance, Nepal argued India’s interference in the internal matters which made Kathmandu to find alternatives for trade from the other country.
The traders from Nepal stated that they would face some issues in connecting the Chinese port due to the lack of infrastructure on the Nepalese side. As Nepal is the Himalayan country it would be difficult for the traders to travel to cross the border to reach China. One of the nearest Chinese port is located more than 2,600 km from the border.
“Nepal must develop proper infrastructure for smooth access to Chinese ports. Without this simply opening of ports will not be useful,” said Anup Malla, an exporter of woolen carpets.
China is building inroads in Nepal with aid and investment, challenging India’s long-held position as the dominant outside power. Beijing and Kathmandu are also in talks for building a railway link into Nepal, constructing an electric transmission line and are conducting a feasibility study for a free trade agreement.