New bridge in Tibet set to boost China-Nepal trade

[PTI] BEIJING, July 29: China plans to scale up its trade ties with Nepal as a new bridge to improve the connectivity between the two countries through Tibet will open in October this year.

The bridge in Tibet’s Xigaze prefecture which will be ready by October is expected to increase bilateral trade between China and Nepal, Tibetan officials said.

The bridge is in Gyirong Valley in the prefecture’s Gyirong county and will also help revitalise Tibet’s Gyirong Port, Director of Gyirong Customs, Wang Long told state-run China Daily.

Gyirong Port was built in 1962 at an elevation of 2,700 meters.

Trade at the port began to drop off in the mid-80s and continued to decline through 2006. Officers at Gyirong at the time were temporarily moved.

Therefore, China is developing Gyirong to make a major land passage between Tibet and Nepal. Currently, Nepal and China rely on Rasuwa Gadhi bridge built by Switzerland for trade and also for visitors to cross over.

But the bridge is not sufficient as trade and travel volumes between the two countries have increased in recent times.

Everyday an average of 200 metric tonnes of goods are carried by people across the bridge, Wang Zhongxiang, an official of the Gyirong Frontier said, adding, the goods are transported mostly by motorbikes.

“The bridge means great convenience for transportation of goods, passengers and vehicles”, he said.

Besides the bridge, China also plans to connect its new railway lines being built from Xigaze up to India, Nepal and Bhutan borders by 2020.

China has improved its relations with Nepal in recent years focusing on stopping unregulated flow of Tibetans to cross over to India through Nepal to visit the Dalai Lama.


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