April 21: The ongoing nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus has severely affected foreign trade of Nepal during the month of March.
The latest data from the customs department show that both imports and exports have declined down due to the lockdown.
According to the department, Nepal's imports during the month of March declined by more than 50 percent compared to February.
In March, imports were limited to Rs 58.29 billion, compared to imports of Rs 120 billion in February.
Exports also have declined significantly.
The export of goods which were around Rs 10 billion in February has declined by more than 6 billion in March. In March, the total value of exports shrunk to Rs 3.91 billion.
Foreign trade with Nepal's two major trading partners, India and China, has declined sharply.
Exports to India, Nepal’s largest trading partner, declined to Rs 3.15 billion, while imports were limited Rs 36 billion.
Trade with China also observed a tremendous decline due to the prolonged shutdown of the two main customs points at the northern border -- Rasuwagadhi and Tatopani. Exports to China amounted to Rs 10 million in March.
The government has banned flight operation and has closed most of the customs checkpoints on both the northern and southern border points. This has affected the foreign trade severely.
For last one month, Nepal has been importing only essential commodities from India. Import and export of goods through air route have also been affected after the government restricted international flights.
The government had imposed the lockdown on March and extended it twice. The lockdown is due to expire on April 27 while the flight restriction will be lifted on April 30.