Export of priority products listed under Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) has dropped in this fiscal as compared to the previous fiscal, even as the revised strategy (2016-20) has incorporated some export products that showed good performance in the previous years like yarn, footwear and leather products, among others.
Slowdown in export of priority products may hit the government’s target of expanding the export of merchandise goods (listed under NTIS) to four per cent of gross domestic product by 2020 from the two per cent in 2015-16.
Similar to the past years, Nepal has not been able to make any marked improvement in expanding its low export base in the current fiscal as well.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), the country exported goods worth Rs 67.36 billion in the first 11 months of this fiscal, as compared to Rs 63.65 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
Weightage of the NTIS products in export accounted for 41 per cent of the total exports. The country exported merchandise goods listed under NTIS worth Rs 27.88 billion in the first 11 months of this fiscal 2016-17, which is just 1.07 per cent of the country’s estimated GDP of
Rs 2,599.23 billion.
Traders have said that the export sector, which had been hit hard due to the devastating earthquake followed by the trade disruptions is yet to fully recover. NTIS (2016-20), which was launched in May last year, had envisioned to improve supply side constraints to boost exports.
The revised NTIS has provisions of focal point for the listed products and services. The focal point will be the joint secretary of the concerned ministry or head of departments.
The government had been expecting rise in exports this year as economic activities had normalised this fiscal following the unfavourable situation of the previous two consecutive fiscal years.
“Despite some notable efforts to improve supply side constraints like regular supply of electricity, improved investment climate, cordial labour-employer relations, among others, the results were not very satisfactory,” said Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay. “We might see a positive impact of these efforts on the export sector in the coming years.”
The government has been providing support for product development through respective product associations and also helping them to resolve the hurdles in the export market in a bid to enhance the country’s export.
To uplift the country’s sluggish export, the NTIS 2016-20 has given more emphasis on various sectors like trade-related infrastructure development, trade and transport facilitation, institutional capacity building for trade negotiation, improvement in investment climate, developing standards and technical regulations, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, intellectual property rights and payment-related issues, among others.
A version of this article appears in print on July 09, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.