Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) organised a brainstorming interaction session with the Consulate General of Nepal to India Eshor Raj Poudel today at the NICCI secretariat.

The session chaired by the Vice-President Sunil KC was attended by R B Rauniar, secretary general and convener of the Trade and Transit Committee at NICCI, Prakash Singh Karki, chairperson of the Road and Transit Committee at FNCCI and Naresh Agrawal, vice-president of Nepal Freight Forwarders Association.

Rauniar explained the pointwise issues that how the business community can overcome the issue they have been facing with suggestions for amicable solutions thereby keeping the cost of doing business and making Nepali consignment hassle-free and cost-effective in the international market.

He also handed over the documentation of the segregated issues that need to be seen by the Consulate General of Nepal for lobbying with concerned government and private agencies in Nepal and India.

The meeting suggested the expansion of jurisdiction of Nepali Consulate Office to work for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as well, which is now confined to West Bengal, so that any problems or hassles faced by the Nepali businessmen in states like UP and Bihar need not reach the embassy situated at New Delhi.

It was also suggested that Nepal-bound cargo be allowed to ferry to any customs points at India-Nepal border via rail, thereby allowing other private sector rail operator to move Nepal bound cargo to other entry and exit customs points listed in the treaty.

Explaining the disparity between Nepal-India Transit Treaty and Nepal-India Rail Service Agreement in the case of documents requirements, he said rail moving cargos require submission of copy documents only for the purpose of Indian custom clearance as per RSA; whereas road movement cargo are asked to submit original documents for Indian Custom Clearance, even though it is not made mandatory to submit original documents as per Article 3 of the memorandum of protocol of the Nepal-India Transit Treaty.

Similarly, the meeting also discussed that Nepal has implemented ASYCUDA World in all major customs points and the government of India uses ICEGATE in its customs points for the same reason. So it was suggested that these two systems should be integrated as the EDI connection would help in better risk management as well as CTD automation and document harmonisation should go hand in hand which makes the transactions transparent and help simplify procedures at port in Kolkata.

In the programme, Vice-President KC said since the Nepal bound cargo are increasing by day through the Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam ports, NICCI has planned a (Kathmandu-Kolkata) K2K forum to be organised in Nepal and India in alternative year to discuss the issues related to trade and transit between the stakeholders of Nepal and India, for which he proposed for support from the Consulate General's office.

Acknowledging the entire issues discussed in the meetings, Consulate General of Nepal Poudel assured that he will take the issues raised very seriously and discuss with the secretary of Ministry of Commerce of Nepal and related agencies so that they as solved as soon as possible.

He also assured that the Consulate General's office will be fully supportive to make the K2K forum successful.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.