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Indian traders charter flight to China

Travel through third countries to China, travellers say, incurs high costs as well as poses logistical difficulties on account of China’s COVID-19 restrictions that requires PCR tests even while in transit.

Travel through third countries to China, travellers say, incurs high costs as well as poses logistical difficulties on account of China’s COVID-19 restrictions that requires PCR tests even while in transit. | Photo Credit: STR

The first post-pandemic business charter flight from India to China carrying 107 Indian businesspeople landed in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province on Tuesday.

With direct flights between India and China yet to resume more than two years into the pandemic, businesspeople with ties to the commodity hub of Yiwu in Zhejiang, a key destination for sourcing imports, arranged an Airbus A320 charter flight through China Southern Airlines that left New Delhi on Tuesday.

China’s State media reported the flight, which landed in Hangzhou on Tuesday evening, was the first commercial charter bringing Indian businesspeople back to China. Travel through third countries to China, travellers say, incurs high costs as well as poses logistical difficulties on account of China’s COVID-19 restrictions that requires PCR tests even while in transit.

Chinese media reported the flight was organised with the assistance of the Zhejiang provincial commerce department and Yiwu city, noting that India was the second-biggest export destination for the Chinese commodity hub with $3 billion in annual exports and more than 2,000 Indians resident there before the pandemic. India’s imports from China reached a record $57.5 billion in the first half of 2022.

The commodity hub, where traders source everything from furniture and toys to jewellery, is currently in partial lockdown and dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases. The Communist Party-run Global Times reported the outbreak had concerned traders ahead of the crucial upcoming Christmas good shipping season with China’s stringent “zero-COVID” rules placing curbs on transport. China’s economy grew by only 0.4% in the second quarter, impacted by continuing COVID curbs.


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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 9:33:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/indian-traders-charter-flight-to-china/article65754504.ece