Nepal | August 12, 2020

Nepal-China meet on TTA protocol to be held this week

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, September 2

Nepal and China are going to hold a meeting to discuss and finalise the protocol of the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) with China, in Kathmandu, on September 5 and 6. There have been several rounds of meetings held between the authorities of both the countries to draft the transit protocol to enforce the agreement signed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in March 2016, when he was the country’s prime minister back then too.

The pact was signed during PM Oli’s visit to China and will help pave the way for the country to get access to seaports via China.

It is reported that draft of protocol has been exchanged, however, there have been differences between the two nations. The previous meeting held in China in July had tried to narrow down the differences. Nepal side had proposed for access to seaports, however, the Chinese side had proposed Nepal to use the nearest land ports of China for third-country trade stating that necessary arrangements for the movement of Nepal-bound cargo to/from seaports will be made by the designated land port. The team led by Commerce Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire has urged the Chinese authorities for further discussions on the issues that were raised by the Chinese authorities in Kathmandu.

Following the visit of Prime Minister Oli to China in June, the Cabinet meeting on July 5 decided to delegate the Nepali team the authority to sign the protocol to the agreement that was signed during Oli’s visit to China in 2016. However, meeting was not successful in concluding the pact and urged the Chinese authorities to again meet in Kathmandu for further talks.

PM Oli has been apparently blaming erstwhile UCPN (Maoists) and Nepali Congress for delay in signing protocol to enforce the crucial pact that was signed during his first premiership. In a recent television interview titled ‘Janatasanga Pradhanmantri’ sponsored by Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, PM Oli had said that the two governments formed after his first tenure were responsible for the delay as they had shelved the agreement. “Our government has given priority for enforcement of the pacts signed with China in the past,” PM Oli had reiterated.

However, discussions between the two countries have yet to find a common ground for protocol. “During the talks going to be held in Kathmandu at the end of this week, we will put our best efforts to conclude negotiation on draft protocol,” said Ravi Shanker Sainju, joint secretary at Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.

MoICS has said the last meeting in China could not succeed despite the government delegating authority to sign the protocol to Secretary Ghimire. Meanwhile, the Chinese side has not specified seaports and land ports that Nepal can utilise, mode of transportation, customs clearance procedure, among others.

A version of this article appears in print on September 03, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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