US agrees to support Nepal’s trade regime during TIFA meeting

Kathmandu, June 14

The United States has agreed to exchange information to support Nepal’s ongoing efforts of developing laws and regulations to promote trade.

During the meeting of Nepal-US Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council, held on June 10 in Washington, DC, the US agreed to support Nepal to enhance trade competitiveness, says the joint statement of TIFA council meeting.

Nepal had requested the world’s largest economy for technical assistance to support the country’s move to integrate into global value chains, address supply capacity constraints, and maximise its utilisation of US trade preferences.

During the meeting, the United States and Nepal discussed the implementation of Section 915 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, which provides for non-reciprocal preferential trade benefits for Nepal through December 31, 2025, for certain US imports from Nepal that meet specific eligibility criteria.

The programme is intended to help Nepal overcome the severe challenges it is facing in achieving economic recovery in the wake of the April 2015 earthquake by improving Nepal’s export competitiveness. In this respect, the US agreed to explore the possibility of extending trade capacity building support to Nepal.

The discussions also focused on Nepal’s recommendations for technical assistance that could help enhance bilateral trade and investment and improve overall economic growth in Nepal.

“Technical discussions led by Nepal’s commerce secretary and the deputy US trade representative also focused on promoting investment in Nepal, facilitating the use of preferential market access for Nepali products in the US, customs and trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, food safety, standards and conformity assessment, services trade, and labour,” reads the statement.

Both governments pledged their commitment to deepen their engagement in these areas over the coming months in order to make progress in advance of the third TIFA council meeting, planned to be held in Nepal in 2017.