Nepal, Bdesh secy level trade talks

KATHMANDU: Nepal and Bangladesh will hold a commerce secretary level meeting from May 2-4 in Dhaka.

“We have no special agenda apart from transit and trade issues,” said Surya Silwal, joint secretary at the ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS). “It’s Bangladesh’s turn to bring agenda this time.”

The secretary level meeting will focus on further integration in sub-regional perspective and mutual recognition of each other’s testing and standardisation certificates, according to reports in Bangladeshi newspapers. “Officials in the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) said the commerce secretaries of the two countries are expected to devise strategies for the implementation of the relevant clauses of joint communiqué, co-signed by the premiers of India and Bangladesh in New Delhi recently,” they reported.

Dhaka had expressed its desire to give Nepal and Bhutan access to Mongla and Chittagong ports.

However, it is more likely that the commerce secretary level meeting between Dhaka and New Delhi

will be held before a

similar meeting between Dhaka and Kathmandu. Experts said that there are a number of issues in the proposed draft of the Nepal -Bangladesh transit deal. Bangladesh is moving to open a new land route to Nepal and offer it the use of its Mongla port for export of goods to a third country.

Dhaka has sent the draft of a deal to Kathmandu

to activate a 1976 transit treaty that would allow landlocked Nepal the use of Mongla port in the Bay of Bengal. Nepal has so far been exporting its goods through Indian ports.

The volume of Bangladesh-Nepal bilateral trade is negligible. Bangladesh’s exports to Nepal were worth only $8.1 million against imports amounting to $69 million in fiscal 2008-09. To increase the trade between the two South Asian countries smooth transit facilities have been a major concern.

“Our major concern is to increase volumn of trade between the two countries,” Silwal said adding that

transit abd trade are linked together.