Kathmandu, January 27:

Bharat Bahadur Thapa, secretary at ministry of industry, commerce and supplies called upon all concerned sections of the society to join hands with the government to make SAFTA a successful tool to boost trade at the regional level and help Nepal find its rightful place in the global trading regime.

He said that as Nepal has joined various bilateral, regional and global trading bodies, concerted efforts from all sectors is required to make it an useful tool to boost economy in the context of globalisation.

Thapa said this while addressing a programme jointly organised by the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies (MOICS) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) today. He said that the private sector should be able to exploit maximum benefits from SAFTA framework, which is already under implementation. Only through partnership between the private sector and the government, SAFTA would be beneficial for a country like Nepal, Thapa observed.

Naindra Prasad Upadhyaya, joint secretary at MOICS, stressed on the need to build capacity of the private sector to exploit the new potentials unveiled by SAFTA implementation. While negotiating on SAFTA, Upadhyaya said the government should focus on boosting domestic industries and increase access of Nepali products to international markets.

Acting president of NCC, Jagdish P Khetan hoped that the implementation of SAFTA would ultimately lead towards forming a South Economic Union in the SAARC region. He stressed on making a short negative list of products by all member nations of SAARC, simplified and transparent rules of origin and anti-dumping laws. Vice-president of NCC, Surendra Bir Malakar stressed on successful implementation of SAFTA and expressed the need to work jointly with the government to exploit maximum benefits from this new trading framework.

Under secretary at the MOICS, Pradip Poudel presented a paper on ‘SAFTA and Nepal: Opportunities and Challenges’.