2nd jbc meet concludes: Nepal, Pak to boost trade

Kathmandu, November 21:

Entrepreneurs during the second Nepal-Pakistan Joint Business Council (JBC) meeting in the capital have renewed their zeal to expand trade and economic ties between the two South Asian countries in the days to come. They have reached an agreement to expand bilateral trade, joint investment a-nd tourism promotion in the two-day long meeting held at the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) secretariate. JBC is the joint body of FNCCI and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).

According to a statement issued here by FNCCI, Nepali entrepreneurs asked the duty free access for more products besides ‘tea and jute’ to Pakistan. “There is a huge potential for Nepali and Pakistani joint investment in the areas of pharmaceutical, tourism and her-bs,” said the entrepreneurs.

“The Nepali delegates also underlined the need to start Kathmandu-Lahore direct flig-hts to fuel business and economic activities and increase flow of tourists,” states the FNCCI press release. The meet decided to organise trade fairs in both the countries, start training programmes, ask their respective governments to grant free visa to promote tourism and trade. The joint meeting also agreed to hold next meeting in Lahore, Pakistan by the end of 2006. Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of FNCCI led the Nepali team, while Chaudhary Mohammad Saeed, president of FPCCI led the Pakistani delegation. Senior Nepali government

officials, Pakistani ambassador to Nepal and business representatives from both the countries took part in the two-day long council meeting that concluded today.

Dhakal said, “After the implementation of SAFTA, mutual cooperation in regional level will increase.” He urged the Pakistani delegation to invest in Nepal. “Regular exchange of information, business delegations and organising trade fairs will further boost trade between our friendly nations.” Similarly, Saeed expressed concerns over the low volumn of trade, despite a trade treaty between Nepal and Pakistan some 23 years ago. “Trade volume between the two countries is negligible. In such a context, both countries should pay extra heed in expanding bilateral trade.” Pakistani envoy to Nepal Sohail Amin underscored the need to take stock of the issues raised in the meeting. He informed that he is trying hard to expand trade and economic ties between the two countries. Binod Bahadur Shrestha, former president of FNCCI and coordinator of JBC said that the meet would be instrumental in expanding private sector’s role in identifying new areas of cooperation for economic advan-cement in both the countries.