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Tajik-Chinese Trade In Steep Decline

KHORUGH, Tajikistan -- A Tajik customs official says the amount of trade between China and Tajikistan at the two countries' only border crossing at Kulma so far this year is only 25 percent of the amount it was in the same period in 2008, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Muhiddin Jumaev, a customs official in Tajikistan's Autonomous Gorno-Badakhshan region, told RFE/RL that trade turnover at the Kulma checkpoint in China has decreased by millions of dollars.

Local businesswoman Nigina Vatanbekova says the severe weakening of the Tajik currency, the somoni, against the U.S. dollar has also hurt overall trade with China.

Last year, an average of some 1,000 Chinese-made minivans were imported from China each month by Tajikistan. But only eight have been imported this year.