NTIS for trade integration

KATHMANDU: Experts at a seminar organised here today on ‘Export Potential Assessment (EPA) and Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS)’ blamed policy makers for their poor understanding.

Talking about the role of trade in national development agenda, National Planning Commission (NPC) RD Singh said that though the trade deficit is increasing there is no ministerial networking to bridge the gap.

“ We are not moving according to the trade

treaty with India,” he said adding that here people only talk about duty free and quota free system rather than focusing on product development.

“We are not focused on goods we can produce,” Singh said.

According to him, doing research and making reports is not enough

as the focus should be on quality production. He added that Nepal has a number of possibilities for trade enhancement.

Ministry of Commerce and Supplies and UNDP consultant Thierry Noyelle said NTIS’ main objective is formulating a trade integration strategy for Nepal that ensures trade is a driver of inclusive growth.

The major challenge is increasing the number

of export items and

services as well as increasing the number of destination markets and moving up the value chain.

According to Noyelle, major obstacle are

tarrifs, NTBs, domestic supply capacity and trade negotiation.

The value of SAARC’s formal exports to China increased by 156 per cent between 2004-2008 but the value of formal Nepali exports declined.

Nepal benefits from duty free access for most of its goods with some exceptions based on rules or origins.

However, similar benefits are being extended to other LDCs or other coutnries through RTAs, said Noyelle adding that transit through India for Nepali exports beyond India is still limited to Kolkata.

Access to an additional port — Visakhapatnam — under the new agreement is yet to be allowed.