Nepal, China to hold talks on transit pact

Kathmandu, November 15

Nepal and China will sit for talks to develop the protocol of the Transit and Transport Agreement with China from November 16 to19, in Lhasa — the capital of Tibet.

This is a technical committee meeting of both countries to develop protocol, which needs to be endorsed by the higher authorities of both the governments.

The Nepali delegation, led by Joint Secretary of Ministry of Commerce (MoC) Ravi Shankar Sainju and comprising joint secretaries from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, and representatives from Department of Customs and Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board left for Lhasa today, as per MoC officials.

Consul general of Nepal to Lhasa and economic minister at the Nepali embassy in Beijing will also join the Nepali delegation. All the members of the delegation are technical committee members formed by the government to bring the Transit and Transport Agreement with China into force.

When the Transit and Transport Agreement was signed during former prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China on March 21, the agreement did not have any protocol, which is required to define the provisions of the pact.

The framework for the protocol, forwarded by Ministry of Commerce to the Ministry of Transport, China has not identified any seaport or route. However, it has proposed for the use of multimodal transport for trade.

The country will be able to utilise transit facility of China after protocol is signed.

The meeting, which was supposed to be held about a month back, was rescheduled two times on the request of the Chinese authorities.

It is reported that the technical committee meeting will finalise the sea port and route for export and import via China. It will also define the transit operation modality, import procedure, export procedure, mode of transport and customs clearance, among others.

After the Transit and Transport Agreement was signed, the government had already forwarded a framework of the protocol to the Ministry of Transport, China, in August seeking inputs.

“The meeting to be held from November 16 to 19 will hold discussions on viable port, route, transit operation modality and customs procedure, among others, and finalise the draft of the protocol,” said Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint secretary of MoC.

“The protocol developed at the technical level needs to be approved by the higher authority at the ministry and it would be sent to the Cabinet for approval to sign the protocol with neighbouring China.”