China to increase aid to Nepal

Kathmandu, March 24:

China is considerably increasing its assistance to Nepal.

Chinese ambassador to Nepal Qiu Gouhong speaking during a programme on the occasion of the 10th annual general meeting of Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) here today said the Chinese government is planning a significant increase in foreign assistance to Nepal. “The process of providing 497 Nepalis products duty-free access to the Chinese market is also being finalised,” he added.

Nepali products’ duty-free access to the Chinese market is important for reducing imbalance in the bilateral trade between the two neighbours. Nepal imported goods worth Rs 23.43 billion but exported goods worth only Rs 944.4 million in the fiscal year 2007-08. Nepal’s trade deficit with China stands at Rs 22.48 billion, said NCCCI president Rajesh Kazi Shrestha.

“China is interested in investment in hydropower, tourism, agriculture and infrastructure sectors,” envoy Qiu said adding that the Investment Board formed under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ would help boost foreign investment in Nepal.

Minister for Industry Asta Laxmi Shakya urged China to help in Nepal’s industrialiation and in the establishment of a special economic zone (SEZ) near the Chinese border.

She also proposed China support the development of Panchkhal in Kavre into an special economic zone.

“For prosperity, industrialisation is a must,” she said adding that the government is trying hard to help the general people get access to natural resources.

She requested China to invest in four major areas — tourism, mines, herbs and information technology.

Shrestha stressed on appointing Consul Generals in important business and trade-centric cities like Chengdu and Gazaghau of China for smooth trade between Nepal and China.