Kathmandu, October 10
Stakeholders have stressed on optimum utilisation of the duty-free, quota-free facility provided to 77 products in the United States to boost exports from Nepal.
The US has extended single country trade preferences through Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, under which Nepali exporters can use the duty-free, quota-free facility till 2025.
Addressing a programme organised jointly by US Embassy in Kathmandu and Pavillion Group titled ‘Enhancing Nepal-US Trade by Utilising Trade Preference Programme’, Industry Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa said that US Trade Preference Programme has provided unique opportunity for small and medium enterprises to grow and participate in value chain of large-scale industries.
“Youths with innovative ideas can reap the benefits from the programme by setting up enterprises to produce related products and subsidiary industries,” as per Thapa. He further said that rise in export to the US market through utilisation of this facility will help in ensuring sustainable growth of exports.
Ambassador of Nepal to the US Arjun Bahadur Thapa said that the next round of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting should focus on attracting investment from the United States to produce the goods that enjoy duty-free facility in the world’s largest market.
US Ambassador to Nepal, Alaina Teplitz expressed hope that Nepal Trade Preference Programme will help the country to boost production.
Nepali export products, including certain types of carpets and rugs, shawls, scarves, luggage, handbags, travel bags, blankets, hats, and gloves can enjoy this facility of the US government.
“Nepal exported around $6.75 million of these eligible items last year but the market potential for these products in the US is much greater,” Teplitz asserted. “The trade preference programme came into effect last year and lasts until 2025, so we hope we can see those numbers grow.”
Likewise, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce Chandra Kumar Ghimire said that the goodwill gesture shown by the United States towards Nepal, when the country’s economy was shattered by the earthquake and trade disruptions, will help the country to move towards higher growth trajectory by boosting production and exports.
He urged private sector to reap benefits of economies of scale by producing quality goods as per choice and designs sought by US buyers. As US customs law allows import of up to 1.5 per cent of total import of aforesaid projects under zero tariff facility, there is room for Nepal to expand exports to US market.
A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.