Cross-Border Trade between Xinjiang and Pakistan

A third article in a forthcoming special issue on Checkpoint Politics in Cross-border Exchanges is now available at the publisher’s site for JCA.

Cross-Border Trade and ‘the Market’ between Xinjiang (China) and Pakistan” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1540721) is by Alessandro Rippa of the Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado Boulder in the USA. His abstract states:

A significant part of China-Pakistan cross-border trade falls within the category of shadow economy. Most Pakistani traders in Xinjiang cannot afford to ship containers through the Khunjerab Pass and rather carry the goods purchased in China with them on the daily buses to Sost, Pakistan, thus avoiding customs duties. This form of border economy, though falling outside of the regulatory regime, is far from being informal. Rather, it is based on a network of contacts on both sides of the border and made possible by the particular institutional and infrastructural setting of the area. Based on long-term fieldwork in both Xinjiang and Pakistan, this article shows the complexity of these transactions, their transnational nature and the performativity that characterises them. It also highlights the role of online technologies and social networks in the cultivation of those relations, and the ability of traders to navigate often-changing norms and the flows that characterise the market. Eventually, the article suggests a new definition for “the market” as it emerges from the experience of traders in Xinjiang. For them the market is neither simply based on trust, social relations and the continuous flow of information; nor does it correspond to the global, culture-free market economy.

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