Govt to rejuvenate past agreements with China
Kathmandu, May 8
The government has initiated a follow-up of past agreements with China signed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, when he had become the prime minister for the first time.
Oli, during his visit to China as the prime minister in March 2016, had signed Transit and Transport Agreement, MoU on launching joint feasibility study on free trade agreement (FTA) with the northern neighbour and agreement on building oil storage facilities in Nepal under Chinese assistance.
After taking charge as prime minister for the second time, Oli seems to be in a rush to conclude the agreements signed in the past.
During the recent visit of Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali to China, there had been follow-up meetings with Chinese authorities on the aforementioned agreements. These agreements had been stalled after the Oli government had been toppled.
Following the visit of foreign minister to China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) recently wrote to the concerned ministry — the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies — to give momentum to these agreements.
The MoFA has been asked to give a final shape to the draft protocol of the Transit and Transport Agreement within a month through dialogue with Chinese authorities. For this purpose, MoFA has proposed a team led by the joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) and comprising members from Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport; Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; and Ministry of Home Affairs.
Likewise, to conclude the study on feasibility of FTA with China, a committee led by the secretary or joint secretary at the MoICS, and comprising members from Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; and private sector representatives has been proposed. The committee has been asked to prepare a report on national interest and share the findings with the northern neighbour.
Similarly, on MoU on Investment and Production Capacity, Nepal side will give its consent to Chinese side, as per MoFA.
For another critical pact on building oil storage facilities, MoICS has been asked to conclude land acquisition within one month and inform the Chinese authorities about it.
Khaireni of Tanahu, Battar of Nuwakot, and Panchkhal of Kavre have been proposed as the potential locations to develop the fuel storage facilities.