Nepal's imports from China increased significantly during the first two months of the 2021-22 fiscal year starting in mid-July, in preparations for Dashain and Tihar festivals which feature spending sprees.
Goods worth 42.84 billion Nepali rupees (360.18 million US dollars) were imported from China during the period, up 76 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Customs.
"The main reason behind surging imports from China in the first two months of this fiscal year is growing imports of goods targeting the upcoming festival season," Punya Bikram Khadka, information officer at the department, told Xinhua.
"Ready-made garments, footwear, and electronic items were imported in large quantity," he said.
Medical goods for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic have also contributed to rising imports from China, according to Nepali officials.
The Dashain festival, the most important festival of Nepali Hindus and others in the Hindu-majority country, will be celebrated from Oct 7 over the victory of deities over devils, followed by another Hindu festival -- Tihar, also known as a festival of lights.
Nepali officials and traders said importers had moved earlier this year to order goods through the sea route due to limited clearance of goods through the border points with China, where health protocols are being strictly enforced to contain the coronavirus.
"We prefer to import goods through the land route from China because we can bring goods in a much shorter period than through the sea route," said Nayan Bahadur Pandit Chhetri, vice president of the Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association. "But we are compelled to import goods by sea currently."
Goods like apples, water pipes, medical goods, agricultural equipment, ready-made garments, and footwear are being imported through the Tatopani-Zhangmu border point with China, despite the poor condition of the road on the Nepali side, said Narad Gautam, chief customs officer at the Tatopani border point.