PRABHAKAR GHIMIREKATHAMNDU, Jan 21: China emerged as the fourth largest export market for Nepal over the first five months of 2012/13, thanks to more than 250 percent rise in exports to the northern neighbor.
Government officials and traders said enhanced supplies capacity of Nepal amid massive commercialization of medicinal herbs farming in western parts of the country, sharp rise in demand for medicinal herbs, and hide and skins from mainland China are the majors behind rise in exports to China.
Data compiled by Trade and Expert Promotion Center (TEPC) shows exports to China increased by whopping 254 percent during the first five months of current fiscal year compared to the same period last year.
During the review period, China imported goods worth Rs 1.21 billion from Nepal, up from Rs 342.4 million in the same period last year. Nepal´s import from China also increased by 36.7 percent to Rs 30.59 billion during the review period.
“Impressive surge in demands for medicinal herbs as well as hide and skin drove up export volume to China significantly. Not only in Tibet, demand for these products has increased in mainland China as well,” said Suyas Khanal, director of TEPC.
China emerged as the fourth largest export market for Nepal after India, the USA and Bangladesh over first five months of 2012/13.
According to Khanal, export of medicinal herbs to China during the period increased by 478 percent to Rs 537.9 million. Similarly, Nepal exported hide and skin worth Rs 172.2 million, which is 376 percent higher than the export figures recorded in the same period last year.
“We have seen better trade prospects with China with the impressive rise in export of medicinal herbs that commands more than 44 percent of the total exports to China. Yarshagumba is the major medicinal herb exported to China,” Khanal added. He also attributed the rise in the export of medicinal herbs to growing commercialization of the products in western Nepal.
Similarly, wheat flour, statues and metal products, and carpet were the other top exported products during the period.
Data shows wheat exports increased by 203 percent to Rs 81.1 million during the review period. Similarly, exports of metal products and woolen carpets increased by 406 percent and 479 percent to Rs 71.7 million and Rs 68.9 million, respectively.
Traders said prolonged economic slowdown in Europe -- the traditional market for Nepali carpet - prompted them to explore market in China.
Naindra Upadhyaya, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), said China´s liberal trade policy and positive impact of trade fairs between the two countries helped boost Nepal´s trade with the world´s second largest economy.
“We can increase exports by even higher rates, especially in cities nearer to Nepal, if we succeed in enhancing our supply capacity in line with the demands,” said Upadhyaya.
Top five exports to China
Medicinal herbs (+478%)
Animal Hide and skin (+376%)
Wheat flour by (+203%)
Metal statutes by (+406%)
Carpet by (+479%)