The annual border trade through Nathu La, the frontier post at Sino-Indian border in Sikkim, ended yesterday with traders of both sides clocking a turnover of Rs 3.54 crore. The Indian traders exported oil, ghee, blankets, copper items, rice, textile and processed goods among other items to their counterparts in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) worth Rs 2,83,91,230 while the import comprising mostly quilt/blankets and jackets stood at Rs 70,96,750. The bilateral trade at Nathu La was suspended temporarily in July after a prolonged standoff between the two neighbours over Doklam issue, but business had resumed quietly two weeks ago. Anil Kumar Gupta, a businessman from Sikkim who had been exporting goods through the silk route since 2006, said the resumption of trade after the border standoff came as a relief to the fraternity. “We have cleared all our stocks and settled payments with the traders of the opposite side after business resumed for two weeks at the fag end of the trade window between May and November,” he told PTI.
A function was held at Nathu La last evening to mark the closure of trading season this year. The programme was attended by officials from Commerce and Industries Department, Customs and ITBP. The Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Industries Department, Tsewang Doma Bhutia, declared the trade ‘closed’ for this year. The trade will resume in May next year.