Includes provisions to promote service trade, protect IP rights
Kathmandu, September 2
The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) today launched a new Trade Policy, which includes provisions aimed at promoting service trade, protecting intellectual property rights and implementing decisions taken during Ninth World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013. The new policy will replace Trade Policy 2009.
“The new policy aims to promote domestic industries, manage growing imports and boost exports, so that trade becomes an engine for economic development of the country. We hope the policy will also help frame appropriate programmes to lift the country from grouping of least developed countries to developing nations within the deadline of 2022 set by the government,” Commerce and Supplies Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa said after launching the new policy.
Although the government generally does not fail to revise policies to make them compatible with changes occurring globally, it always lags in implementation. As a result, most of the policies fail to produce desired outcomes.
This happened with the Trade Policy issued in the past as well. For instance, the previous trade policy had envisaged establishment of a Trade Promotion Institute and formulation of an Act on Safeguard, Anti-dumping and Countervailing. But these targets have not been achieved till date.
“So, the implementation part should be strengthened,” said President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Pashupati Murarka. “Also, inter-ministerial coordination should be strengthened to ensure the commerce ministry receives adequate support from other ministries to successfully implement the provisions incorporated in the policy.”
The policy, as in the past, says government will play the role of a facilitator, guardian and regulator.It also includes measures to promote exports of goods with comparative and competitive advantage by strengthening capacity of standard-testing laboratories and establishing additional common facility and processing centres.
Some of these goods include: ginger, black cardamom, hand-knotted woollen and other types of carpets, allopathic medicines, medicinal herbs and aromatic oil, coffee, chyangra and pashmina products, goods made of silk, sugar, tea, shoes, textiles, vegetables and vegetable seeds, instant noodles, readymade garments, dairy products, processed leather, flowers, fruits, iron and steel products, honey, pulses, cement, jewellery made of gold and silver and precious stones, handicraft products, handmade paper and products.
The latest policy also focuses on narrowing trade gap by addressing supply-side constraints, enhancing the capacity of export-oriented service firms, such as those engaged in engineering, hydroelectric production, tourism, education, IT and business process outsourcing, health and human resources development.
Among others, the policy includes provisions aimed at reducing transaction costs through trade facilitation and institutional capacity building, and expanding export market for Nepali products through economic diplomacy and use of trade blocs of which Nepal is a member.
A version of this article appears in print on September 03, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.