Nepal urged to finalise projects under Belt and Road Initiative

Kathmandu, February 12

Nepal has been suggested to finalise the projects that the country wants to develop under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the northern neighbour.

Speaking during the inaugural session of a seminar titled ‘Strengthening Cooperation to Promote the Construction of Belt and Road between Nepal and China’ organised by the Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) here today, Ambassador of China to Nepal, Yu Hong underscored the necessity of robust connectivity between the two nations to intensify the economic cooperation through trade, investment, tourism promotion and cultural exchanges.

Stating that the two countries had signed the framework agreement on cooperation under BRI in May 2017, the Chinese ambassador said that the government of China has set up a fund of 250 billion yuan to provide assistance for the countries to prepare projects to realise the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision to connect the world through BRI.

To develop the projects under BRI, the countries can get assistance and technical support from the government of China, as well as loans from Chinese financial institutions. A total of 86 countries have signed cooperation memorandum with the world’s second largest economy to materialise the BRI for the win-win situation of those involved.

Addressing the event, the ambassador further stated that China would respect co-interest of each nation while developing the projects under BRI. BRI is china’s dream of reviving ancient silk route as 21st century modern maritime silk route that will unleash the prospect of expansion of trade across the globe, create economic opportunities for the shared prosperity of the nations aligned with this initiative, according to the ambassador.

Stating that China’s economy achieved a 6.9 per cent growth in 2017 and would generate 30 million jobs this year, Ambassador Hong urged Nepal not to delay in taking advantage of BRI to boost competitive trade with its northern neighbour. She urged to conclude the free trade agreement with China at the earliest and called to expedite the cross-border infrastructure projects like inland clearance depots, integrated checkposts, roadways for the expansion in volume of trade in a hassle-free manner.

“China wants to be a partner in Nepal’s endeavours in constructing physical infrastructure like roads, railways, airports, among others,” she said.

Addressing the seminar, Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi underpinned the need of a whole spectrum of connectivity with China to intensify the

economic engagement between the two nations. He expressed hope that solid political commitment of a stable government, solid policy framework and cooperation measures in thefuture will take the relations of the two countries to newer heights.

Secretary Bairagi underpinned the essentiality of international cooperation to move forward stating that a least developed and land-locked country like Nepal, which has emerged from conflict, has specific development challenges.

Also speaking in the programme, President of NCCCI, Rajesh Kazi Shrestha urged the government of China to show goodwill gesture by slashing non-tariff measures for balanced trade between the two countries.