Kathmandu, February 22:

The two-day long joint secretary level talks between Nepal and India began here today to review the 11-year-old Indo-Nepal Trade Treaty.

The meeting of inter-governmental committee (IGC), a consultation group of commerce joint secretaries, convened just 11 days ahead of renewal of the bilateral trade pact that expires on March 5. “The meeting began with informal consultation on issues seen on effective implementation of the treaty. No breakthrough has been happened yet,” said a member of the Nepali team.

The Nepali side is led by Purushottam Ojha, joint secretary at the ministry of commerce, industry and supplies, while the Indian side is led by Rajeev Kher, joint secretary in the commerce ministry. Besides regular discussions, the meeting is likely to discuss issues like tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed on Nepali exports as well as implications of globalisation on bilateral trade. The quota system on four Nepali goods, agriculture quarantine and trade facilitation are among the issues likely to be discussed.

Since both countries are the members of WTO and the BIMSTEC and SAFTA agreement, a special need has been felt to upgrade ties at the bilateral level.