Strong Nepal, EU economic ties sought

Kathmandu, August 7:

With the establishment of European Economic Chamber of Trade, Commerce and Industry-Nepal (EECTCI-N), economic ties between Nepal and European countries in various areas of development would be further expedited, opined high level government officials and experts.

Madhukar SJB Rana, minister for finance, at the launching of EECTCI-N said that this initiation would be a milestone in inviting new technology, investment and help increase economic activities between Nepal and European countries.

Rana complained that foreign aid coming to Nepal through NGOs, which totals around Rs 16 billion, has not been transparent. Dibyamani Rajbhandari, president of EECTCI-N, said that the chamber will focus its activities for development of small and medium enterprises. Talking to The Himalayan Times, Rajbhandari said, “There was a need to work strongly with European partners to boost tourism, trade, industry and investment.”

He said that those who want to be a development partner and a taxpayer, can join the chamber. European countries being the largest donor and market for Nepal, we envisage to work with all European missions, delegation of the European Commission and all bilateral agencies for peace, economic development and democracy, he said.

“To obtain more aid from the donors, Nepal has to fulfill its commitments by meeting all terms and conditions as agreed with the donors,” he said. He also requested the UK to initiate ‘Nepal Aid programme’ as the UK is the current president of the EU.

Keith Bloomfield, British envoy to Nepal, showed concerns over Maoist extortion, threats and delivery problems. “Subversion of trade unions and even direct attacks have sapped the businesses, reducing profits and in some cases driving capital and jobs out of the country,” he said, adding that business will not thrive until peace is restored. He said that business sector also has its part to play in restoring peace.

Prabin Pandey, president of PATA-Nepal Chamber said that the EECTCI-N will work as a mediator to work and establish partners in the internal market and member states of the EU.