Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trade infrastructure, quarantine issues Nepal�s top agenda

KATHMANDU, July 11: Trade officials of Nepal and China are meeting in the second week of August to thrash out half a dozen pending issues on bilateral trade, including quarantines and administrative hassles in cross border movement of good.

The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has sent invitation to Chinese officials for the talks which is proposed to be held in Kathmandu on August 11 and 12.

“After holding series of consultation with the stakeholders, we have listed around half a dozen issues to discuss in the 4th Nepal-China-Tibet Trade Facilitation Committee (NTTFC) meeting,” a highly placed source at the MoCS told Republica. “We will soon sit with the private sector to finalize the agenda.”

The third meeting of NTTFC was held in Lhasa of Tibet on July 4 and 5 last year. At the meeting, both the neighbors had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that paved the way for exporting Nepali citrus fruits -- oranges and sweet oranges -- to Tibet.

This time, Nepali officials are requesting the Chinese side for support of the northern neighbor in development of trade infrastructure.
“As infrastructure development is crucial for trade between the two countries, we are requesting China to extend support for building an ICD in Rasuwagadi and improving Kathmandu-Tatopani road at the joint-secretary level talks,” the source said.

Similarly, harmonization of time between customs offices of two countries, opening up branch offices of Chinese banks in Nepal and simplification of quarantine process for Nepali goods are also among the topics for discussion proposed by the Nepali side.

“Besides these, we will also held discussion on trade promotion in China at a time when Nepal is witnessing huge trade deficit with the northern neighbor,” said the source.

Ahead of the annual trade talks with the world´s second largest economy, business people have demanded that the meeting explore the ways to bring down Nepal´s trade deficit with China. “As we have been failing to take optimum benefit from the zero tariff facility provided by China for 7,787 Nepali products, the meeting should include products having huge prospects in China in the list so that we can utilize the facility provided by our neighboring country,” Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of Nepal China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI).

According to Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), Nepal´s exports to China increased by 164 percent during the first ten months of the current fiscal year while imports increased by around 29 percent. However, Nepal´s trade deficit with its second largest trade partner reached Rs 54 billion during the review period. Nepal had suffered trade deficit worth Rs 42 billion in the same period last year.

Shrestha also demanded that Nepal request Chinese officials to recognize quality certification issued by Nepali labs for agro produces and livestock being exported to China. Nepali traders have been facing problems as China does not accept quality certificates issued by Nepali labs. He also stressed the need to initiate direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Kathmandu and open branch offices of Chinese banks in Nepal.

Published on 2013-07-11 03:03:37

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