WTO expert to evaluate Nepal’s progress

Kathmandu, October 31:

A senior expert from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva is visiting Nepal on November 2, 2006 in a bid to assess Nepal’s progress as a WTO member.

According to a source at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, Hector Millan, an advisor at WTO will be here for a month to prepare a status report as to how Nepal is abiding by the rules, provisions and commitments made while becoming a WTO member in April, 2004.

This is the first time that an expert from the WTO is coming here to assess the progress made by Nepal after becoming a member of the international rule-based trading system.

During his stay in Nepal, Millan would visit concerned government ministries such as the ministry of industry, department of industries, information and communication ministry, ministry of agriculture and cooperatives, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), among others.

As per the commitments, Nepal has already established Enquiry Points under the WTO Focal Points with a view to cope with challenges emerging in future after becoming a member of the WTO, according to the ministry.

The government has also fixed an Enquiry Point in concerned ministries to deal with Sanitary and Phytosanitary, technical barriers to trade and other issues, which emerged after Nepal became a WTO member.

Similarly, the government has also formed a WTO Reference Centre with a view to disseminate information as to the progress made on WTO commitments and information on new opportunities.

In terms of policy, the implementation of copy rights act, bank and financial institutions act and electronic transactions act has already been started in line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments, says the ministry report.

However, the government has not brought the competition act yet as per the WTO commitments, which is still in the process. Other policies such as health institutions’ operation act, anti-dumping and countervailing act, laws related to sources of plants and laws related seeds and seedlings are in the pipeline.

Various concerned ministries have already prepared acts related to customs, plants protection, industrial property protection, special economic zones, etc.

A study has already been started as to how Nepal can be developed as a transit country to expand trade, being stationed between two big economies, namely India and China.

Other works such as technical assistance mobilisation, capacity building and public awareness campaign are underway.