Khunjerab reopening to further bolster cross-border trade, transportation: official

Khunjerab reopening to further bolster cross-border trade, transportation: official

BEIJING, Apr 9 (APP): The reopening of Khunjerab Pass, a major land port on the Pakistan-China border in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, would further bolster bilateral trade between the two brotherly countries, besides strengthening people-to-people contacts, a senior official said.

The pass connecting officially resumed the entry and exit of passengers this week after a closure of three years in wake of Covid-19 restrictions.

The port authorities on the Chinese side were instructed to take all necessary measures regarding Covid-19 pandemic before the start of the arrival of goods from Pakistan.

Similarly, Pakistani border authorities were also instructed to take all measures regarding Covid-19, ensuring the containment of the disease.

At present, in wake of cold weather and lack of oxygen in the high altitude, Khunjerab Pass generally opens from April 1 to November 30 every year and remains closed from December 1 to March 31 of the following year.

However, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque in a statement said that the resumption of operations via Khunjerab Pass would serve to further bolster trade and people-to-people linkage between Pakistan and China.

He also informed that the two sides were now working to keep the border crossing open all year round.

“It was also another good omen that the two sides were now working to keep the border crossing open round the year,” Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman Mehr Kashif Younis said while talking to a delegation of industrialists and traders.

The reopening was expected to witness a huge growth of cross-border trade and transportation this year. A major turnaround for Pakistani producers was expected in the wake of the relaxation of COVID-19-related restrictions.

He said that cherry had been allowed to be exported to China and this would open up a market of up to USD 2 billion. Similarly, sesame seed export to China had also increased, he added.

The textiles, rice, cherry, mangoes and other food items could be exported to Beijing, which would be another effective way of increasing foreign reserves, he added.

Talking to APP during his recent visit to Beijing, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative, Ahsan Iqbal termed the reopening of pass a very positive development after three years and expressed confidence that the trade between Pakistan and China would resume through land route.

He hoped that the Khunjerab border facility would be upgraded by both sides so that it could remain open for 12 months and it becomes an all-weather facility.

He said that particularly people in Gilgit-Baltistan would greatly benefit from local trade through this border post.

Ahsan Iqbal said that efforts were being made to resume bus service between Pakistan and China through Khunjerab Pass to provide economical means of transportation to Pakistani students studying in China.

As per official data, the import and export cargo volume at the Khunjerab Pass topped 200,000 tonnes from 2016 to 2020.

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