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China to give access to its Port for Nepalese Cargo; Nepal ends dependence on Indian Ports

Nepal and China are all set to sign the protocol of the Nepal-China Transit Transport Agreement during Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandariís upcoming visit to the northern neighbor to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The protocol of the Transit Transport Agreement allows Nepal to use the Chinese sea ports of Shenzen, Lianyungang, Zhanjiang and Tianjin, ending Nepalís sole dependence on Indian ports for overseas trade.

Nepal has also been allowed to use Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse land ports (dry ports) in Tibet. As per the protocol, Nepali traders will be allowed to use any mode of transportó rail or road ó to access the seaports for third-country trade.

The Protocol, which will pave the way for the implementation of the Transit Transport Agreement, will be exchanged between the two sides in the presence of Bhandari and Xi. Nepal and China had signed the protocol of the agreement, during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oliís China visit two years ago.

After a few revisions, both the governments have endorsed it for formal signing. Nepalese Government sources said the Cabinet approved the protocol some two weeks ago and the Chinese government had also endorsed it.

At the time of the protocolís finalization in September, the two countries had agreed to formally sign the protocol during a high-level visit from one of the two neighboring countries.

ďThe protocol is ready for signing. We are just waiting for a high-level visit,Ē said one of the sources. ďIt will be formally signed and exchanged during the Presidentís upcoming visit to China.Ē

Nepalese President Bhandari is scheduled to leave for China on April 24. Her delegation includes Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supply Matrika Prasad Yadav, Secretary Adhikari and Nepalís Ambassador to China Lilamani Poudyal.

Bhandari will address the Belt and Road Forum on April 25. She is also expected to meet Xi and extend him a formal invitation to visit Nepal.

Xi might visit Nepal shortly after Bhandariís visit to Beijing. Although Xi has already visited South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives, he has yet to visit Nepal. Chinese leaders and diplomats have been inquiring Nepali leaders and diplomats on Xi visit to Nepal. Ms.Bhandari is expected to return home on April 28.

Nepalís Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and the then Chinese ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong had signed a memorandum of understanding on the framework agreement on the Belt and Road Initiative in Kathmandu in May 2017 when Pushpa Kamal Dahal was Nepalís prime minister.


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