Import worth increased by Nu 434mn in November and December last year compared to the previous year 2019 for the top 10 commodities.
Bhutan imported Nu 11.78mn worth last year and Nu 11.35mn in 2019. The most imported commodities were in the transportation sector with diesel amounting to Nu 6.75mn followed by import of mobile phones with Nu 4.32mn, according to the Department of Revenue and Customs (DRC).
Moreover, wood charcoal import was Nu 3.92mn, coke, and semi-coke, Nu 3.81mn, rice, Nu 3.59mn, petrol, Nu 2.30mn, ferrous products obtained by direct reduction of iron, Nu 2.28mn, ore, Nu 2.11mn, machinery with a 360-degree revolving superstructure, Nu 1.89mn, electric motor and generators, Nu 1.89mn, and laptop and computers, Nu 1.48mn.
Records also reveal that in the months of November and December 2019, the most imported products were ferrous products obtained by direct reduction of iron ore worth Nu 8.51mn, petrol worth Nu 4.59mn, wood charcoal worth Nu 3.25mn, rice worth Nu 2.78mn, coke and semi-coke worth Nu 2.45mn, vehicle (of a cylinder capacity not exceeding 1,000 ccs) worth Nu 1.54mn, mobile phone worth Nu 1.45mn, waste and scrap of cast iron worth Nu 1.36mn and unused postage, revenue or similar stamps worth Nu 1.29mn.
The top ten exports during November and December 2020 were ferro-silicons worth Nu 2.56bn, boulders worth Nu 7.08mn, cardamom worth Nu 3.34mn, pebbles, gravel, broken or crushed stone worth Nu 3.04mn, Portland Pozzolana Cement worth Nu 2.71mn, ordinary Portland cement worth Nu 1.29mn, potatoes worth Nu 1.26mn, gypsum worth 1.17mn, limestone and calcareous stone worth Nu 1.11mn and dolomite (chips) worth Nu 1.02mn.
During November and December 2019, exports included semi-finished product of iron and non-alloy steel worth Nu 4.89mn, boulders worth Nu 3.77mn, Portland Pozzolana Cement worth Nu 3.41mn, cardamom worth Nu 2.73mn, pebbles, gravel, broken or crushed stone worth Nu 2.18mn, dolomite (chips) worth Nu 2.13mn, oranges worth Nu 2.06mn, potatoes worth Nu 1.70mn, and silicon carbide worth Nu 1.27mn.
Exports decreased during November and December 2020 compared to the two months in 2019 by Nu 400mn.
President of Bhutan Export Association (BEA)Dorji Tshering said, “I think the export of boulders should recover the shortcomings from the revenue that tourism failed to generate this time. We are expecting around Nu 0.3mn dollars as income for the country.”
General Secretary of BEA, Tshering Yeshey said, outside the country, there are no challenges and the BEA representatives are always there to facilitate Bhutanese exports. “If a problem arises then we do have our representatives to look after the issues that come up on a daily basis.”
According to him, during the pandemic, whenever issues arose they were sorted over the phone. “We have good contact with the Indian customs and whenever a problem arises we immediately sort it out and they are also supportive especially when the pandemic is making things difficult,” he said, adding that initially the team used to visit the site and sort out the problem in a meeting but due to the pandemic this has not been possible.
“We have put safety protocols in place to make export safer,” he said.
Sonam Tashi from Thimphu