WTO poses survival challenges

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 31:

No sooner did Nepal become the147th member of World Trade Organisation (WTO), than questions began to be raised as to how Nepal can sustain its economy in the competitive environment with lesser number of exportable products. Economists and businesspersons opined that Nepal has already committed to the multilateral trading system, which embraces trading in goods, services and intellectual property rights. Now Nepal has to fight for its survival by enhancing its capacity in terms of its exportable products and capacity building.

In relation to the impact of WTO rules on all kinds of cross border trade and free and fair trade, Binod Bahadur Shrestha, president of FNCCI said that entrepreneurs should bring themselves up to date as to the implications of WTO on their respective areas. They must also use latest information and technology as much as possible to survive, he added. He was addressing an interaction programme on Nepal’s membership to WTO and role of academic institutions.

WTO is an effective tool that demands efficiency from all member nations to penetrate the global market, Shrestha opined and further added, “Better knowledge of WTO provisions is a necessity, particularly in view of the increased global competition.” “The challenges for Nepali business sector are many, but it also holds tremendous opportunity,” said Shrestha. The programme organised by Shanker Dev Campus, joint secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, Prachanda Mana Shrestha made a presentation on Nepal’s membership to WTO and its challenges. He shed light on the basic framework of WTO and its principles including accession process, opportunities and obligations and preparations that Nepal should make for adjusting its economy and business to the WTO system in the future.

Highlighting the forthcoming challenges due to the WTO, Prof Pushkar Bajracharya at the faculty of management, TU said that there is a need to seek alternative revenue avenues to finance developments gradually, changing laws and regulations to make laws compatible with WTO commitments and obligations, developing transparent mechanisms and creating institutions and financing the cost of negotiations coupled with recourse to legal measures and implementation.

Bajracharya also emphasised the need for Nepali entrepreneurs for becoming more competitive by improving productivity, lowering cost of production and marketing. He also underscored the need for quality production in a sustained way and making service delivery effective and timely.