Kathmandu, October 18
US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz called on Minister for Commerce Romi Gauchan Thakali at the latter’s office today. During the meeting, issues related to promoting bilateral trade and investment and development cooperation between the two countries were discussed in detail.
As strengthening trade and business relations would be rewarding to both countries and their people, Minister Thakali requested the US side to increase investment to promote bilateral trade. He also called upon US side to extend investment along with transfer of technology in Nepal to increase the production and productivity of products that have high export potential in the US market.
“With the promulgation of the new constitution by the Constituent Assembly last year, and as Nepal embarks on the path of economic revolution, the country needs support from development partners including the US to expedite its economic growth and prosperity,” a media release issued here today has quoted Minister Thakali as saying.
As the new constitution has adopted liberal economic policy as the state’s main directive principle for economic advancement, Minister Thakali called upon US investors and entrepreneurs to capitalise on Nepal’s conducive economic environment as ensured by the constitution.
Recalling some of the recently enacted acts and regulations such as Labour Act, Industrial Enterprises Act and Special Economic Zone Act, the commerce minister noted that the present government is highly determined to create an investment-friendly environment and to protect the interest of investors under all circumstances. He urged the US side to enhance investment in tourism, hydropower and agro-processing sectors that present ample opportunities.
Minister Thakali also urged the US ambassador to enhance US support to Nepal government in implementing some key projects as envisioned in the recently launched Nepal Trade Integration Strategy 2016 and Nepal Trade Policy 2015. Recalling understandings made at the second TIFA Council meeting in June 2016 in Washington DC, he extended invitation to the US side to participate in the third TIFA Council meeting that is to take place in Kathmandu, next year.
The minister also expressed hope that the US will continue its support to Nepal for its development and help Nepal achieve the goal of graduating from the least developed country status by 2022.
Meanwhile, mentioning that US-Nepal friendship is based on trust, goodwill and mutual cooperation, Ambassador Teplitz welcomed Minister Thakali’s statement at the BIMSTEC Business Summit held in New Delhi on October 14 as she noted BIMSTEC process would be helpful for Nepal to enhance its connectivity and trade with other members of the region.
The US stands ready to support Nepal in its development efforts, she reaffirmed, as per the release. Recalling TIFA as a milestone document, she hoped that it will bring tremendous opportunities for business people and entrepreneurs on both sides in the days to come. The US ambassador expressed some concerns of the US like establishing one-stop service (single window) for investors, clarity on areas of investment for foreign investors and the possible amount of returns that can be taken back by investors, etcetera, to be well reflected in the proposed legislation of Foreign Investment Act, being prepared by Nepal.
The ambassador also informed the interest of the US in extending support in value chain in agriculture and intellectual property, among others.
Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhaya and other senior officials from ministry were also present in meeting. US ambassador was accompanied by Kevin C Price, economic and commercial officer at US Embassy in Kathmandu.