Nepal | August 10, 2020

Nepal, China meeting to develop protocol of trade, transit treaty

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, October 24

Technical committees from Nepal and China are preparing to sit for a three-day meeting starting November 6 to develop the protocol of the Transit and Transportation Treaty that the two countries had signed in March.

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has proposed China for the meeting from November 6 to 8 in Lhasa — the capital of Tibet — and China is positive to hold the meeting on this date, according to an official at the MoC.

This meeting between technical committees of both the nations will be the first step towards implementing the historic Transit and Transportation Treaty that Nepal had inked with China during former prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to the northern neighbour in March 21.

The committees will discuss on draft of protocol of the treaty developed by both countries. Nepal had forwarded the framework of the protocol to Ministry of Transport, China last month.

“China is positive towards holding the protocol meeting as soon as possible. We are gearing to sit with the Chinese side immediately after Tihar,” MoC Joint Secretary Ravi Shankar Sainju said, adding that China however has not made any comments on the framework of protocol that had been forwarded earlier.

The scheduled meeting between the two technical committees is expected to take a decision on the route for export and import via China. Similarly, the protocol meeting will also give final shape to the operation modality of transit, modes of transport and customs clearance, possible dry ports and other trade procedures for Nepal’s third-country trade through China.

Currently, Nepal depends on transit facility provided by India for third-country trade.

“Put simply, the meeting will define and set guidelines for the Transit and Transportation Treaty signed with China. The two committees will discuss and develop a detailed and final draft of the protocol,” an MoC official said seeking anonymity.

Nepal will be able to use the transit facility with China once the protocol is signed by the two nations.

Initially, authorities of both countries are said to be considering Port of Tianjin as the possible gateway for Nepal’s third-country trade. The Tianjin Port is located at a distance of 3,500 kilometres from Kathmandu.

However, Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay said that both Nepal and China have not reached a decision on any of the protocols related to Transit and Transportation Treaty. “Before reaching a decision on any matter regarding the treaty, the technical committees of both nations will first intensively discuss on the draft of protocol developed by the two countries, feasible routes, operation modality of transit, dry ports, among others,” said Upadhyay.

A version of this article appears in print on October 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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