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Tibet plans for duty-free shops

(China Daily)    20:00, March 23, 2016

Tourists shop for duty-free goods in Sanya, Hainan province. File photo.[Photo/Xinhua]

LHASA - China's Tibet autonomous region is applying to establish duty-free shops at selected entry ports to boost border trade and tourism, Lhasa Customs said Wednesday.

Lhasa Customs is working closely with the regional government to apply for the central government's approval to the opening of such shops, said Wang Wenxi, chief of Lhasa Customs.

Bordering India and Nepal, Tibet has become a gateway of trade between China and south Asian countries. The region's foreign trade reached about 76 billion yuan (11.7 billion U.S. dollars) between 2011 and 2015, more than 60 percent of which were achieved in border areas.

Wang did not specify in which ports the duty-free shops will be established. However, ports bordering Nepal like Jilong are more likely candidates as trade with Nepal accounts for most of Tibet's overall foreign trade.

The region's trade with Nepal dropped 59.2 percent in 2015 after a strong earthquake devastated ports and trade routes in April. The Jilong port was reopened in October 2015 while the other major port Zhangmu is still under reconstruction.

Opening duty-free shops will help improve Tibet's status as a major tourist destination in the world, Hong Wei, deputy head of the region's tourism promotion committee.

Tibet received about 67.9 million visitors between 2011 and 2015, raking in 87.4 billion yuan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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