WTO introduces greater opportunities: Experts

Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, April 16:

The opportunities and challanges that Nepal faces after getting the World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership were discussed at a seminar organised by the International Economic Society of Nepal (IESON) in assistance from the Centre for Economical Development and Administratoin (CEDA) here today. Speaking at the programme the finance minister, Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani said, “Joining the WTO means joining the process of globalisation and being part of free movement of capital”.

Continuing on the same topic, he said, “There are many policies that need to be looked into at this stage. The membership brings opportunities as well as challanges for Nepal if it wants to compete effecively in the international market.” WTO means non-discrimination against member countries and transperency, which might help Nepal to get a better foothold in the global market, he added.

WTO offers numerous opportunities like market access and predictable trading environment and if we can make use of our potential and supply products at a reasonable price and on time, we can make remarkable progress in no time, Lohani said. Joining the WTO means coming together and sharing ideas which would help in economic growth and development of the country, said Hakob Hynne, first secretary, Royal Norwegian embassy. A small country like Nepal, which has a very small domestic market, could immensely benefit from global trade, Hynne added. ‘Aid for trade’ is the way we want to promote Nepal, Hynne said.

A draft paper on ‘market access issues relating to trade in goods under WTO, Nepalis perspective’ was presented by Ratnakar Adhikari.

The paper stated that WTO, being a rules-based trading system, would help Nepal to serve a vast international market without being discriminated against by other competing nations. Adhikari added that it also brings new challanges for local industries since they are going to be exposed to global competetion. Local industries will be forced to enhance their working efficiency to be able to compete in the international market, he added. Dr Minendra Rijal presented a paper on ‘Gains from service trade liberalisation: A Nepali perspective’.

He went on to say that services, unlike goods are intangible and invisible and cannot be stored as services are simulatenously produced and consumed. “We are rich in lower and semi-skilled labour. This could assist the country while joining the WTO,” he added.

Secretaries of different ministries and other organisations, industrialists and experts were present in the seminar.