Commerce minister holds discussions with Indian counterpart

Kathmandu, March 20

Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav has held discussions with his Indian counterpart Suresh Prabhu on

various dimensions of bilateral trade and investment promotion.

Minister Yadav separately met with Minister for External Affairs of India, Sushma Swaraj and counterpart Prabhu on the sidelines of mini ministerial conference of World Trade Organisation (WTO) hosted by Indian government yesterday and today.

Minister Yadav has urged for simplification in export of agricultural products from Nepal to India citing India is the largest trading partner of the country. Nepal’s two-third trade — imports and exports — takes place with the southern neighbour.

Minister Yadav discussed developing trade-related infrastructure at the border points to facilitate bilateral trade and also emphasised that the Indian investment is critical for Nepal as it aspires for rapid, wider and sustainable economic growth.

He also spoke with his Indian counterpart on finalising trans-shipment agreement during the commerce secretary-level talks that is going to be held in Nepal on April 26 and 27, as per the statement issued by the ministry.

In the meeting with his Indian counterpart, Prabhu said that he is aware of the trade and transit-related issues between the two countries and pledged to support Nepal in trade capacity development.

“He advised Minister Yadav to focus on development of products and services that have niche market advantage,” as per the statement.

Minister Yadav took part in the informal ministerial conference of WTO, which India had hosted to break the deadlock in multilateral trade regime. WTO ministerial meeting organised in Buenos Aires of Argentina in December had failed to conclude negotiations in any of the agenda.

Minister Yadav had also addressed the informal ministerial meeting. In his address, he highlighted the challenges of non-tariff barriers facing Nepal, which has limited production capacity. He said that the multilateral trade regime should conclude the negotiations on pending agendas that promote fair trade.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the concluding session of the informal ministerial meeting and said that suggestions collected during the conference will provide guidance to accelerate negotiations under WTO, as per the statement.

Altogether 45 commerce ministers of WTO member countries had participated in the meeting.