Private sector for Nepal, Australia trade accord

Kathmandu, November 29:

Nepali businessmen have asked the governments of Nepal and Australia to sign a bilateral

trade agreement as well as establish direct flights to boost trade, tourism and investment between the two countries.

Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) highlighted the need of bilateral initiative on trade, investment, tourism and other economic activities.

Nepal has been constantly receiving development aid of forestry, livestock and human resource development from Australia.

“Now we need to explore other avenues like hydropower, civil aviation, health and education as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for bilateral cooperation and investment,” said Dhakal, while welcoming Graeme Lade, Australian ambassador to Nepal and a delegation of Australian High Commission, New Delhi at FNCCI secretariat, today.

Michael Moignard, senior trade commissioner for South Asia and Harsh Mohan Puri, business development manager at the High Commission were with the Australian delegation, while Diwakar Golchha, first vice-president of FNCCI, Pradeep Jung Pandey, chairman of Industrial Promotion Committee, Vijay Kumar Duggar, chairman of International Liaison Forum, Guna Nidhi Tiwari, co-chairman of Social Service Committee, Meghnath Neupane, acting director general and Govinda Dev Pandey, senior consultant at FNCCI were present during the interaction programme.

Envoy Lade said that the Australian government is ready to cooperate with Nepal on socio-economic development including education, health, Human Resource Development (HRD), environment and infrastructure development sectors.

Meanwhile, the Australian delegation also held an interaction with the office bearers of the

Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) today.

The representatives of Confederation of Nepalese Industries noted that visa simplification would enable Nepali businessmen to expand trade and commerce activities to Australia. They also asked to resume visa issuance from the Kathmandu embassy instead of New Delhi high commission.

Senior trade commissioner Moignard made a detail presentation on potential imports as well as export opportunities to Australia during the interaction.

Although Nepal-Australia bilateral relationship was founded in 1960, bilateral trade still remains below one per cent and trade balance is in favour of Australia.

Nepal’s exports to Australia stood at Rs 154 million in 2005-06, while imports surpassed Rs 1.41 billion, according to the data.