US urges Nepali traders to utilise trade facility
Kathmandu, April 21
The United States of America has urged Nepali traders to make maximum use of the Nepal Trade Preference Programme that the US government has initiated targeting Nepal last year.
The Embassy of the United States in Nepal, today, organised an event on how Nepali traders and businesses could take advantage of the new preferential trade benefits provided on 66 different export products to the US.
Addressing the event, Mark Linscott, assistant United States trade representative, said, “The Nepal Trade Preference Programme intends to contribute to the economic growth of Nepal, especially after the devastating earthquake of April, 2015. As the US is the second largest export destination of Nepal, the private sector here should gear up to increase export of products that enjoy duty-free access to the United States.” However, Linscott urged Nepali businesses to meet the technical requirements set by the US government for potential exports from Nepal.
The Nepal Trade Preference Programme is part of the US Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, 2015 that came into effect from December last year. The US government has authorised this Nepal-specific programme until 2025. Under this programme, the US government grants duty-free tariff benefit for Nepali exports including certain types of carpets, bags, headgear, shawls, scarves, leather and travel goods.
“The Nepal Trade Preference Programme is a means through which Nepal could boost its exports to the United States. The programme will further contribute to strong economic and trade relationship between the two nations,” Stephanie Reed, deputy political/economic chief of the US Embassy in Nepal, said, adding that Nepali businesses however will have to expedite production of goods as per the technical parameters set by the US government.
Similarly, US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz said, “Nepal already exports a number of duty-free granted products to the US market. With the implementation of the trade preference programme, Nepali products will be more cost-effective in the US market.”
Informing that Nepal’s greatest asset is its goodwill in the US, Teplitz said, “The trade preferences programme for Nepal is a way to forge deeper economic connections between our two countries.”
Citing that Nepal is gradually losing its trade surplus with the United States, Bhawani Rana, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said the governments of both countries should assist Nepali businesses to take benefit of duty-free facility and increase Nepali exports to the US.
Meanwhile, Minister for Commerce Romi Gauchan Thakali, said that Nepal is committed to fully utilise the trade preference facility offered by the US. However, he urged the US government to incorporate various other Nepali goods of comparative advantage like readymade garments in the duty-free products’ list of the US government.