Nepal-B'desh commerce secy-level talks kick off
Kathmandu, May 30
A two-day commerce secretary-level talks between Nepal and Bangladesh kicked off here today. The meeting hopes to support the agreements on special market access for the products of each other's country.
The bilateral meeting has set an 18-point agenda to hold discussions on various topics related to trade, investment and connectivity, among others.
A 24-member Nepali delegation led by Industry, Commerce and Supplies Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire is holding talks with the 11-member team led by his Bangladeshi counterpart Shubhashish Bose.
“During the meeting, we will try to look for ways to narrow down the trade imbalance with Bangladesh. And we will focus more on enhancing bilateral trade,” said Ghimire
The first agenda of the meeting is to review the progress of the agreed minutes of the third Nepal-Bangladesh commerce secretary-level meeting. Similarly, the meeting is also focusing on finalising operational modalities for the carriage of transit cargo between Nepal and Bangladesh. Discussions are also to be held on reviewing the list of products and services for duty-free/preferential market access and finalising the implementation modality.
Moreover, another major agenda for the meet is the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between the two countries. The two sides are scheduled to discuss enhancing truck and railway connectivity and improving infrastructure along the agreed transit routes and land customs stations.
The two sides are also slated to hold talks on reviewing the agreement on regulation of motor vehicles passenger traffic (Dhaka-Kathmandu bus service), formation of joint group of customs officials between Nepal and Bangladesh, removal of high tariff and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and simplification of administrative procedures on primary and manufactured goods.
Likewise, trilateral transit agreement between Nepal, Bangladesh and India, harmonisation of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade measures between competent authorities of Nepal and Bangladesh are also on the agenda.
Similarly, discussions are also to be held on issuance of visa on arrival for Nepali citizens at land and air routes, long-term visas for Nepali citizens studying in Bangladesh and bilateral arrangements on long-term business visas for investors and business persons of Nepal and Bangladesh.
The meeting is also scheduled to discuss measures for simplification of export procedures for pharmaceutical products both in Nepal and Bangladesh, tourism promotion, exploring air connectivity between Biratnagar/Bhadrapur of Nepal and Saiyadpur (Rangpur) of Bangladesh, participation in international trade fairs held in each other's country, Nepal-Bangladesh cooperation in hydropower and cooperation between Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and public trading entities of Nepal, including Salt Trading Corporation.
“I see a lot of potential in enhancing trade relations between the two countries. However, we are yet to reap the benefits of trade, transit, investment, tourism, agriculture, hydropower and other sectors that could equally beneficial for both countries,” Ghimire stated.
The Nepali delegation includes officials from Department of Immigration; Department of Drug Administration; Department of Industry; Department of Agriculture; Department of Food Technology and Quality Control; Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology; Department of Customs; Department of Commerce; Embassy of Nepal in Dhaka, Bangladesh; Trade and Export Promotion Centre; Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board; Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company and Salt Trading Corporation.