Border Trade




1. What is Border Trade?


General Introduction to Border Trade


(source: Department of Commerce)

  1. North Eastern India shares land border with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Nepal and has agreements of overland trade with these countries through Land Custom Stations notified under Section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962.  While for trading through LCSs situated on Bangladesh and Bhutan border, there is a Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Border Trade Agreement have been entered into with China and Myanmar.
  2. Border trade is different from trade through air, land or sea ports as trade through ports involves clearance through customs and has large volume.  Border trade in contrast is “over-land trade” by way of “exchange of commodities” from a bi-laterally agreed list by people living along both sides of the international border.
  3. For permitting locally produced commodities, to be traded as per prevailing customary practices on both sides of the India-Myanmar border, an agreement on border trade between India and Myanmar was signed on 21st January, 1994 and operationalized on 12th April, 1995. The Agreement envisages that the border trade will take place through Custom Posts at Moreh in Manipur and Zowkhathar in Mizoram, corresponding to Tamu and Rhi in Myanmar.  40 items are permitted for the border trade between India and Myanmar, with 5% duty. Presently, most of the border trade takes place only through the Moreh Post. The details of the border trade between India and Myanmar during the last 5 years are as under: (Rs. In crore)


    Border Trade
    Year Export Import Total
    2006-07 6.13 2.69 8.82
    2007-08 4.94 1.35 6.29
    2008-09 1.61 0.76 2.37
    2009-10 24.5 8.32 32.82
    2010-11 0.26 3.80 4.16

    Border trade with Myanmar is quite limited and is generally averaging less than US $ 1 million per year.

  4. Border trade at Nathu La Pass, Sikkim with China is duty free.
  5. Details are in following sections.



2. Border Trade Data


(Rs. in lakhs)
(Source: Central Board of Excise & Customs, Department of Revenue)


Border Trade Data for NER FY 2010-11
Sl. No. Name of LCS Value of Export Value of Import Net Revenue Collected Top five commodities Traded No of cargo vehicles
Import Export Import Export
Office of Chief Commissioner, Central Excise & Customs, Shillong Zone
1 Sutarkandi 1954 3073 247 Cement, Misc food item and plastic items Coal & quick lime 2182 9238
2 Karimganj Steamer & Ferry Station 822 67 12 Knitted & crocheted synthetic fabric Ginger, Oranges, dry fish and other citrus fruits -- --
3. Mankachar 11 253 45 Cement, Vest, Cloak & Religious Book Coal, Boulder Stone 374 598
4 Bosora 16768 Nil 2 Nil Coal & Lime stone - 130493
5 Bholaganj 22373 Nil 1 Nil Lime Stone, Boulder stone & Quartz stone - 116493
6 Dawki 9720 0.1 92 Food Items, Fire  clay, & bricks Coal, Lime stone, Raw hides, quartz stone, stone boulders seasonal fruits,& vegetables 17 45644
7 Shellabazar 829 Nil 13 Nil Lime stone & boulder stone - -
8 Bagmara 385 Nil 2 Nil Coal - 3550
9 Dalu 1890 296 49 Cement. Syn, Fabrics Coal 509 10217
10 Ghasuapara 6701 Nil 9 Nil Coal - 10217
11 Mahendraganj 362 449 63 Cotton waste, synthetic fabric, food product Coal. Crushed stone, Boulder stone. Dry fish, ginger 390 1523
12 Agartala 157 20352 1528 Stone, cement, fish, PVC pipes,& furniture Other craft  paper, vulcanized rubber tread, acmesip & mango classic 37978 48
13 Srimantapur 6 2488 391 Stone, Cement, Plastic sheet of polymers Raw hides, woven fabrics & synthetic filament -- --
14 Khowaighat Nil 306 42 Stone & cement Nil -- --
15 Manu 2 459 85 Broken stone, Bricks & Cement   -- --
16 Muhurighat Nil 1838 306 Stone, Bricks & Cement Nil - -
17 Old Raghnabazar 5 68 12 Textile items, cotton vest & others Citrus fruits - -
18 Moreh 26 380 36 Betel nut Cumin seed - -
19 Hatisar 4916 39 Nil Rectified spirit SKO, HSDO,MSLPG, Rice & Oranges Plywood / Block Board & Bhutanese Liquor 250 4512
20 Zokhawthar Nil 4 0.4 Betel nuts Nil -  



3. Border Trade Committee


Border Trade Committee[PDF](305.76 KB)



4. Items for Border Trade – Myanmar


Indo-Myanmar Border Trade Items


(Total 40 items)


Sl. No. Old items
(DGFT Public Notice No. 289(PN)/92-97 dated 10th April, 1995)
Sl. No. Additional items
(DGFT Public Notice No. 106 (RE-2008)/2004-2009 dated 07.11.2008)
1. Mustard/rape seeds 23. Bicycle’s spare parts
2. Pulses and beans 24. Life saving drugs
3. Fresh vegetables 25. Fertilizers
4. Fruits 26. Insecticides
5. Garlic 27. Cotton fabrics
6. Onion 28. Stainless steel utensils
7. Chilies 29. Menthol
8. Spices (excluding nut-meg, mace, cloves and cassia) 30. Agarbatti
9. Bamboo 31. Spices
10. Minor forest produce (excluding teak) 32. Cosmetics
11. Betel nuts and leaves 33. Leather footwear
12. Food items for local consumptions 34. Paints and varnishes
13. Tobacco 35. Sugar and salt
14. Tomato 36. Mosquito Coils
15. Reed broom 37. Bulbs
16. Sesame 38. Blades
17. Resin 39. X-ray paper and Photo paper
18. Coriander seeds 40. Imitation jewellery
19. Soya bean    
20. Roasted sunflower seeds    
21. Katha    
22. Ginger    


In addition, DGFT has clarified (vide Policy Circular No. 53 (RE –99)/1997-2002 Dated: 29.02.2000) that in addition to the provisions contained in the above mentioned Public Notices, the ‘normal trade’ in all other commodities between two countries through Land Customs Station at Moreh is also permitted subject to payment of custom duties as applicable on international trade with any other country of the world.



5. "Normal" Trade at Myanmar Border


Simultaneous Conduct of Border Trade and MFN Trade (Normal Trade) at Indo-Myanmar Border, Moreh and Zawkhathar


  1. On the Indo-Myanmar border, border trade at concessional rate and with certain conditions is permissible for 40 bi-laterally agreed items.  In addition, normal/MFN trade is also permitted.
  2. DGFT has clarified (vide Policy Circular No. 53 (RE–99)/1997-2002 Dated: 29.02.2000[PDF](5.5 KB)) that in addition to the provisions contained in the DGFT Public Notices Notification No. 9/95-Customs dated 6.3.1995[PDF](12.21 KB) (for 22 items for border trade on Indo-Myanmar border) & Notification No. 62/2010-Customs dated 12.5.2010[PDF](54.35 KB) (for additional 18 items), ‘normal trade’ in all other commodities between two countries through Land Customs Station at Moreh is also permitted subject to payment of custom duties as applicable on international trade with any other country of the world.
  3. OM No.570/04/2003-LC dated 18.10.2010 of Shri M Satish Kumar Reddy, Director (ICD), Central Board of Excise & Customs, Department of Revenue  on “Conversion of border trade into normal trade at Indo-Myanmar Border Trade Points.”


    “The undersigned is directed to refer to Department of Commerce OM No.9/3/2009-FT(EA) dated 28.9.2010 on the above subject and to state that Moreh and Zawkhathar Land Customs Stations have been notified under Section 7 of the Customs Act, 1962 without any restriction regarding the mode of trade. Notification 9/95 Customs as amended by Notification 62/2010 Customs allows a concessional rate of duty of 5% ad valorem only on 40 items specified in the notification. However, normal trade can take place through the above LCSs as per the prevailing Foreign Trade Policy provisions and on payment of duty at applicable rates.”
  4. Thus, while border trade is carried out at a concessional duty of 5% on 40 identified items, normal/MFN trade is also permitted in Moreh and Zawkhathar.



6. Entry without Visa to Myanmar


Limited Facilities for Entry to Myanmar by Local People Residing in Areas

Adjacent to The International Border



To facilitate limited movement of hill tribes residing along the Indo-Myanmar border, the Governments of India and Myanmar have permitted entry of such persons residing within 16 km of the international border with only permits but without visa with certain terms and conditions. Local nationals of both sides can stay in the other country for three days within 16 km on either side.


Click here to see Gazette Notification No. G.S.R 611(E) of Ministry of Home Affairs dated 21.7.2010.[PDF](626.42 KB)



7. Items for border trade – Nathu La<


Trade Between India and China Through Nathu La Pass (SIKKIM)


  1. The traditional trade between India and China through Nathu La Pass in Sikkim commenced from 6.7.2006. Import and export of locally produced commodities by people living along both sides of Indo-China border as per prevailing customary practices are allowed.
  2. Commodities allowed under border trade between India and China (at Nathu La Pass) notified vide Public Notice No. 5-ETC(PN)/92-97 dated 20.7.1992:
    1. Items exempted from duty when imported into India from China through border trade:


      1.   Goat Skin
      2.   Sheep Skin
      3.   Goats
      4.   Horses
      5.   Sheep
      6.   Wool
      7.   Raw Silk
      8.   Yak Tail
      9.   Yak hair
      10.   China clay
      11.   Borax
      12.   Szaibelyite
      13.   Butter
      14.   Goat Cashmere
      15.   Common Salt


    2. Items freely exportable to China in border trade:


      1.   Agricultural implements 16.   Tobacco
      2.   Blankets 17.   Snuff
      3.   Copper products 18.   Cigarette
      4.   Clothes 19.   Canned food
      5.   Textiles 20.   Agro-chemical
      6.   Cycles 21.   Local herbs
      7.   Coffee 22.   Dyes
      8.   Tea 23.   Spices
      9.   Barley 24.   Watches
      10.   Rice 25.   Shoes
      11.   Flour 26.   Kerosene Oil
      12.   Dry fruit 27.   Stationery
      13.   Dry and fresh vegetables 28.   Utensils
      14.   Vegetables 29.   Wheat
      15.   Gur and Misri



  3. Click here for Department of Commerce Public Notice No.20(RE-2006)/2004-2009 dated 13.6.2006.[PDF](49.13 KB)
  4. There is no duty on these 40 items unlike on the Indo-Myanmar border where 5% duty is levied. Other conditions of trade are as follows:
    1. Border trade markets shall be open from 1st June to 30th September every year.
    2. Border trade markets will be open from Monday to Thursday every week-four days in a week and from morning 7:30 am to afternoon 3:30 pm Indian time and 10 am to 6 pm Chinese time would be the timings for the border trade.
    3. A permit fee of Rs.50 each will be levied for every vehicle entering Sikkim side from China. Similarly, a fee of 5 yuans (Rs. 5 equal to one Yuan) will be levied for every vehicle crossing over to the Chinese side upto the trade mart point at Renqinggang.
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Ms. Mercy Epao, Deputy Secretary