Kathmandu, April 13
With the government taking a lot of time to endorse the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2015, the programmes designed as per the strategy have been stalled since long.
NTIS 2015 is the updated version of NTIS 2010 and is a four-year strategy of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) for trade sector development. It was forwarded to the Cabinet some two months back for approval.
It is reported that the Cabinet has forwarded the document to the Economic and Infrastructure Committee led by the finance minister. However, with the Cabinet committee taking time to endorse the NTIS document, the programmes designed under the strategy have been stalled since long.
The MoC had developed NTIS 2015 harmonising the spirit of Trade Policy, 2015.
NTIS envisions creating an enabling environment for trade by strengthening the supply capacity as well as institutional capacity development of trade-related institutions. Capacity enhancement of trade-related institutions could be highly supportive in reducing cost of trade through initiation of various measures.
The country’s export sector has been lagging due to supply side constraints. This, in turn, has resulted in the country facing huge trade imbalance.
NTIS has been supporting various product development associations to enhance production capacity. By 2020, the strategy has aimed to increase the contribution of NTIS products to the gross domestic product (GDP) to four per cent from around 2.5 per cent at present.
NTIS has identified some products and services of comparative and competitive advantage. NTIS, which was introduced in 2010, had incorporated 12 products and seven services under export priority. However, the list has been changed in NTIS 2015.
The NTIS 2015 has shortened the list of products and services that has niche market advantage. NTIS 2015 has identified five products, namely carpets, leather products, pashmina, footwear and all types of fabrics (textiles, yarns) under priority export items. Similarly, three categories of services — skilled and unskilled labour; information technology and business process outsourcing; and tourism — are incorporated as priority sectors for enhancing export trade.
Enhanced Integrated Framework — the aid for trade mechanism of World Trade Organisation and various other donors for productive capacity enhancement of least developed countries — has been providing support for NTIS implementation.
A version of this article appears in print on April 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.