Traders for duty free access

Kathmandu, February 26:

Nepal-USA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NUSACCI) has stressed on the need to lobby for ‘duty free access’ for Nepali garment exports to the US markets.

The entrepreneurs said that in the past, due to political disturbances, NUSACCI could not expand its programmes. But in the days ahead, they seem determined to promote market with effective strategies. It has formed a new executive committee — to lobby for duty free access — headed by Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey.

Kiran Sakha, newly elected executive member of NUSACCI talking to The Himalayan Times stressed on bilateral need to work jointly in a competitive environment, if we are to boost export to the US and other destinations. “Being a newly elected member, he promised to take

‘extra’ initiatives to boost Nepal-USA trade ties, specially for duty free access for Nepali garments despite the failure in the past,” said Sakha.

He said that LDC member countries like Nepal can get duty free access to the US market after Bangladesh and Cambodia were being discouraged in recent times. Nepal’s strategy needs to be ‘restructured’ to get it done, said he.

Sunil Shakya, the outgoing president of the chamber, while presenting the annual progress report said that due to political disturbances, strikes and bandhs throughout the year, the chamber had to cancel its activities.

Although there are significant numbers of bilateral chambers in the country, no one seems ‘active’ currently. However, every chamber has its own strategies and interests, businesspersons on condition of anonymity said.

Shakya admitted that the garment sector witnessed a worst decline in the history and is in a vulnerable state. He attributed the decline to the lack of market diversification. The countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia and future economic powerhouses like India and China have already started exporting higher value-added products.

Shakya said that neither the government nor the private sector in Nepal has identified the commodities subject to US General System of Preference (GSP) scheme.

NUSACCI said that the government needs to work towards creating an conducive environment for investment, should aim for predictable and stable environment for investment in hydropower sector. The chamber in its document has clearly stated that there was a lack of proper institutional arrangement and coordination among ministries and institutions when it comes to boosting investment.

Shakya while addressing the gathering said that there was a need to develop high voltage transmission corridors into India and in the region.