Call to make Indo-Nepal trade treaty more beneficial

Kathmandu, October 19:

As the date for renewal of Nepal-India Trade Treaty is approaching, government officials of Nepal and India, including the businesspersons, are busy in discussing trade and economic issues to make it more beneficial for both the countries.

Rajeev Kher, joint secretary at the ministry of commerce, government of India, who is currently on Nepal visit, said that there is a need to look at opportunities and deeper economic relations between the two countries in a changed economic environment. The potential new areas of investment could be health sector, education and energy sector for which we need to look jointly, said Kher while speaking at an interaction programme on ‘Renewal of Nepal-India Trade Treaty’ organised by Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) in support of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI). Kher said that they are aware of the problems faced by the Nepali business sector and are committed to resolve them amicably to boost bilateral trade.

Naindra P Updhyaya, joint secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies said that the government is ready to resolve business sector’s problems. “Before the renewal of trade treaty, we would be able to sort out problems,” he expressed his confidence. “We are also discussing on comprehensive economic package — that includes service and investment sectors — to explore new economic opportunities,” he added.

Jawed Ashraf, counsellor (commerce) at the Indian in Kathmandu, said that India is always positive and ready to help Nepal benefit from growing economy of India. “Indian government had reduced agriculture quarantine fee by 50 per cent last year with a view to support Nepal,” he added.

Ashraf said that India is trying its best to make Nepal’s easy access to Indian market to support Nepal’s economic advancement. “Nepal has to ensure that foreign investors here are safe and can freely operate their business,” he said. He recalled that Nepal’s exports to India in recent years have increased greatly.

Binod K Chaudhary, president of CNI asked help from Indian government for preferential and non-reciprocal status for Nepali products. Chaudhary, pointing at both countries’ joint secretaries, suggested working out effective mechanisms for a country like Nepal to boost its economy. He stressed on better Nepal-India trading environment and hoped for some form of redressal mechanism before the treaty is renewed. “Modern approach is the need of the hour to move effectively in today’s globalised world,” he said suggesting to form a mechanism to resolve issues of concerns at the local level.

Arun K Chaudhary, president of NICCI, stressed on policy change to make Nepal more attractive venue for joint ventures, which will ultimately boost Nepal’s economy and trading opportunities. He also said that Nepal should be sensitive on Indian concerns. He suggested a long-term vision for at least 10 years.

Jagdish Agrawal, member of CNI presented a paper on ‘Renewal of Nepal-India Trade Treaty 2007’ and raised various serious issues on the occasion. He asked, “how can Nepali industrial manufacturers feel secure of uninterrupted export to India, free of the hassles such as non-tariff barriers, bureaucratic hassles, non-interference by states and tariff issues of additional duties and HS codes.” Various entrepreneurs requested the officials from both the governments to see exporters’ problems and resolve them at the earliest.