Govt, development partners join hands

Kathmandu, March 6

The recently concluded 16th Donor Group meeting on Aid for Trade (AfT) reviewed the implementation of the action matrix of Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2016; the Capacity Development Strategy (CDS) of Ministry of Commerce; and the formal handing over the role of Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Nepal donor facilitator from the Embassy of Germany to the European Union delegation to Nepal.

During the meeting, various development partners working in the trade sector in Nepal expressed their firm commitments in supporting the implementation of the NTIS 2016 and for the overall trade sector development of Nepal, according to press statement.

Speaking at the programme, Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhayay informed Nepal’s development partners that the Nepal government has prioritised trade as an important component to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth, gender empowerment and poverty reduction through various periodic plans, policies and strategies. He urged the development partners to prioritise their support in mainly four key areas: product development; trade-related infrastructure development; trade facilitation and market promotion for the trade-led sustainable and inclusive economic growth, including gender empowerment and poverty reduction.

He further stressed that the ministry is looking forward to jointly work with the EU, relevant stakeholders including the private sector to address the challenges in trade sector due to limited supply capacity and inadequate trade-related infrastructure.

The outgoing EIF Nepal Donor Facilitator and Deputy Chief of Mission of German Embassy in Kathmandu Jacqueline Groth appreciated the efforts being taken by the government on the policy front by bringing out the Trade Policy, NTIS 2016 and CDS. Groth also highlighted the need for support from Nepal’s development partners to the government for the implementation of trade policies and strategies. She underscored the importance of coordination among various line ministries and the private sectors for mainstreaming trade in sectoral polices, plans and leveraging resources.

In the programme, the new EIF Nepal Donor Facilitator and Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Nepal Andreas Roettger remarked that the EU is one of the largest trading partners in the world and the EU sees trade and investment also as very important vehicles for inclusive development as outlined in its ‘Trade for All’ strategy.

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) such as Nepal benefit from the most preferential trade regime globally available and Nepal has the potential to embrace this opportunity stronger. In 2016, Nepal exported goods worth 90 million euros to the EU, making it Nepal’s second largest export market after India.

The Ministry of Commerce had organised the 16th Donor Group meeting on AfT in presence of representatives from various development organisations. The ministry has been organising these meetings at regular intervals within the broader framework of Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) at the WTO.

The NTIS 2016 has identified 190 actions to be implemented by 2020 with clear roles, responsibilities along with quantitative indicators to measure its success. It has clearly outlined its focus on supply capacity through increased production and productivity; product and value chain development; development of trade-related infrastructure to address the bottlenecks of supply-side constraints and enhanced market access in terms of both technical and institutional capacity building.