HomeNewsChina allowed truck entry on a border with Tajikistan: could Chinese onions flow into the country?

China allowed truck entry on a border with Tajikistan: could Chinese onions flow into the country?

For the first time after a three-year ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tajik trucks crossed the border of China, according to the Ministry of Transport of the republic. China has lifted entry restrictions imposed as part of the fight against COVID-19, since January 8, 2023.

Since 2020, trucks have not been allowed into China and vise-versa. Containers with cargo were delivered to the border by Chinese transport, after which they were loaded onto Tajik trucks, Asia-Plus reports. “It took more time and money,” the Tajik transport department emphasizes.

FAO international consultant Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, in a commentary to EastFruit, called the admission of freight transport between Tajikistan and China “great news.”

“Having such a great neighbor, it is important to use such an opportunity wisely. From the point of view of fresh produce trade, relations between our countries are not developed: Tajikistan imported garlic a few years ago, and China imported cherries a few years ago. That’s all. The current situation with onions (when their prices are at a record high) may give Tajikistan the opportunity to import onions from China, because prices there are several times lower than in Tajikistan. China is a major producer and exporter of onions. Chinese supplies would ease the situation for Tajik consumers. Everyone is used to high-quality Chinese garlic, onions will also be in demand until the first harvest in April-May,” – the FAO international consultant says.

According to Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov, China is a very promising market for the agricultural products from Tajikistan. The Ministry of Agriculture of the country may intensify work on opening the Chinese market for Tajik products and not only to lemons and cherries, which currently have a green light to be shipped to China. As an example, the specialist cites the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, which received permission to supply dozens of types of agricultural products to China.

Bakhtiyor Abduvokhidov believes that it is also possible to import agricultural equipment, plant protection products and technologies to Tajikistan from China. “New Tajik products that may be of interest to China, along with cherries, could be fresh and frozen berries from Tajikistan,” – says the FAO consultant.

EastFruit experts also think that China could export more apples to Tajikistan, where prices for these fruits are usually much higher than in China and in countries of Eastern Europe. Presently good quality fresh apples are supplied to Tajikistan mostly from Iran, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland.

There is only one checkpoint on the Tajik-Chinese border – “Kulma-Karasu”, which separates the Murghab region of Tajikistan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. Around 20 years ago the checkpoint worked only in the spring and summer, but over the past decade, year-round traffic has been established through it.

Read also: Tajikistan follows Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan banning exports of onions, carrots, and potatoes

Problems in the operation of this checkpoint arose in January 2020, after the emergence and spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. At first, traffic through the checkpoint was completely closed, and at the end of April of the same year, its work was resumed, but the conditions changed: the Chinese themselves were involved in the delivery of containers with goods to the border of Tajikistan.

At the same time, during the acceptance and transfer of goods, Tajik consignees had to pay separately for the container, the real cost of which, according to Tajik suppliers, was overstated by more than 5 times.

China is one of the three main trade partners of Tajikistan, second only to Russia and Kazakhstan. In 2022, according to the Tajik Statistical Agency, trade between the countries amounted to more than $1.2 billion. Imports of Chinese goods to Tajikistan amounted to $842 million, and exports of Tajik products to China – $368 million.


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