Nepal, China to sign fuel trade deal next week; DPM Thapa to lead team

KATHMANDU: A high-level government delegation is heading to China next week to sign an agreement on fuel import and other trade deals.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa will lead the delegation on December 23 to give a final shape to informal and formal discussions being held with China on importing fuel from the northern neighbour in the wake of Indian government’s undeclared blockade.

Minister Thapa, who is currently on an official visit to the United Kingdom, will return on December 21. The high-level visit will come following the footsteps of the recent unofficial visit of Minister for Commerce and Supplies Ganesh Man Pun and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) officials.

Nepal has already reached a preliminary agreement with China’s state-owned PetroChina for importing fuel, but a trade agreement is yet to be struck.

The NOC’s technical team has already held discussions with PetroChina officials while a delegation headed by Commerce Ministry’s Under Secretary Shiva Prasad Tripathi held bilateral talks on importing petroleum products.

The high-level delegation will include top officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s Chief Advisor Bishnu Rimal said preparations were taking place in accordance to which DPM Thapa would head to China immediately after returning from Britain.