Transit facility for land-locked states proposed

Kathmandu, February 13:

Nepal has proposed a transit facility with the BIMSTEC members — the body of seven countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand — at the 11th Trade Negotiation Committee (TNC) meeting that concluded recently in Bangkok.

Naindra Prasad Upadhyay, joint secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, has led the Nepali delegation to the 11th BIMSTEC meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand from February 6-11.

Upadhyay, while talking to The Himalayan Times informed that Nepal has proposed the transit facility under the BIMSTEC framework. “Intra-BIMSTEC trade promotion and expansion would boost our economy,” he said, “If the transit facility is not provided to the landlocked nations, they would not be able to compete in the regional trade.”

“Bhutan has supported the Nepali proposal at the meeting,” according to the official. However, the opinion of other member countries is yet to be known.

On the same occasion, Nepal presented investment and foreign direct investment (FDI) policy papers to be adopted by member countries while investing in Nepal. Nepal has already adopted liberalised investment policy since 1992 and in recent times, it has joined hands with bilateral, regional and multilateral trade bodies considering the increased need for enhancing national trade with the regional and global players.

According to the government official, during the TNC meeting, sub-group meeting of BIMSTEC has also been planned for Rules of Origin in India in March as member countries could not decide on product specification rules this time. Next TNC meeting has also been scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka during the first week of April.

During the 10th TNC meeting held in Kathmandu in December, the member countries had agreed for the involvement of the third party arbitration in dispute settlement mechanisms on trade and economic issues.

“If there were a dispute between Nepal and India, third country representation would be nominated amicably to resolve such dispute,” according to Upadhyay. The third party can decide the case within a year, according to him. All member countries have to implement BIMSTEC from July.