Transit, trade cargo pact sought

Kathmandu, October 7:

Nepali businessmen have asked the governments of Nepal and Bangladesh to sign an accord on operating modalities of carriage of transit/trade cargo to facilitate bilateral and external trade through Bangladesh.

They — during an interaction with senior commerce officials of the two South Asian countries today — urged Nepal and Bangladesh to forge trade relations through a mechanism in line with free trade agreement.

“We are anxiously looking forward that Nepal and Bangladesh will sign a pact on Operating Modalities for Carriage of Transit/trade Cargo, without which we could not expect the expansion of bilateral trade as well as external trade through Bangladesh,” said Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry on the occasion.

Dhakal, on behalf of Nepali private sector, also requested Bangladeshi government to speed up talks for FTA. “Contemplating the current trend and prospect, we could begin with at least primary agricultural products of interest of both countries,” he added.

He further asked to ease export procedures for acrylic yarn and marbles through Banglabandh land route as well as simplification of registration of Nepali pharmaceutical products to have their access in the Bangladeshi markets. “Products from seven Bangladesh companies are in our market, whereas none of our products have yet given market access,” he said.

Lauding the concessionary facilities provided to Nepal for third country exports through Mongla port, he said that the Nepali exporters are yet not convinced and comfortable to use the facilities due to limited movement of commercial liners, delivery risks and other additional costs. Dhakal requested to give access to Chittagong port with connection through Dhaka inland clearance depot.

Responding to the issues raised by the Nepali entrepreneurs, the visiting commerce secretary of Bangladesh Feroz Ahmed stressed on the need of utilising existing facilities by enhancing trade activities through Kakarvitta-Phulbari Banglabandh land transportation corridor. He said that Bangladesh is keen to sign a free trade pact.