GILGIT: Chinese Government agrees to resume controlled border trade activities in two phases under strict COVID-19 SOPs.
In a letter to the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad said that both sides have agreed to allow exchange of cargo through a defined operation area at Khunjerab Pass. Passengers will not be allowed to cross the border. Tourists will be strictly forbidden to enter the border port area.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had asked the Chinese Government to reopen the Khunjerab border to facilitate cross-border trade and people-to-people exchanges.
The Chinese Government has however allowed resumption of restricted trade activities.
In the first phase (April 1 to April 30) the delivery of trade goods will be conducted in the defined operation area at Khunjerab Pass in separate ways under strict SOPs.
There will be no people-to-people contact. On every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Chinese side will unload cargo containers at the operation area. On every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Pakistani side will load the containers in the operation area.
In the Second phase (May 1 to November 30), the Chinese side will conduct the shipping operation during the first three weeks of the month according to the mechanism defined in the phase 1. In the fourth week, entry operation for overseas containers (empty containers) will be conducted. This will allow one-way export cargo from China to Pakistan.
The Chinese Embassy has asked the Pakistani authorities to vaccinate all front-line staff, drivers, conductors at the Port and ensure strict Coronavirus related SOPs as defined by the Chinese Government.
The China-Pakistan border remains closed from December 1 till March 31 as per border agreement. The border was closed for an indefinite time due to Coronavirus pandemic. The border was opened for a few weeks in July 2020 to facilitate the transportation of stranded containers and later in September to shift medical material gifted by Chinese government to GB to deal with Covid-19 and in December to transport the machinery for a power house in Hunza.