Govts effort to reduce its trade gap with Bhutan

KATHMANDU: Nepal is holding talks to develop a bilateral trade agreement to reduce the trade gap with Bhutan. The last fiscal year, the total trade between Nepal and Bhutan was Rs 540 million in which Nepal had a total export of Rs 190 million to Bhutan whereas bhutan exported items worth Rs 350 million to Nepal. In the end result, there was a trade gap of Rs 160 million on Nepal’s side.

According to Surya Prasad Silwal,

joint secretary at Ministry of

Commerce (MoC), the trade gap last fiscal year was due to large export but the trade talks will be able to draw favorable outcomes. Compared to the last fiscal year, Nepal had a one per cent increase in trade with Bhutan during the fiscal year 2007-08 with total trade worth about Rs 270 million.

“We are moving with the initial round of formal trade talks regarding trade preference and duty free access,” said Silwal adding that along with the final trade talks, Nepal will sign a trade treaty with Bhutan. The trade agreement will focus on duty free access for Nepal’s exports to make them more competitive.

With some amendments in the trade agreement draft prepared with Bhutan, it will be forwarded to stakeholders. The draft is under discussion and the trade scenario with Bhutan will soon become favourable, said Silwal.