Sturdy stride

The signing of the revised trade treaty by Nepal and India would help solve much of the problems in bilateral trade. The Treaty of Trade and Agreement of Cooperation to Control Unauthorized Trade was inked Tuesday and has come into immediate effect. The last time the treaty was signed was in 1991, but since then much has changed, and there was general dissatisfaction in various quarters, but the revised treaty is expected to address the misgivings. Nepal’s largest trade partner is India and the volume of trade has kept on growing steadily and from 1996 Nepal’s exports to India have grown by as much as 13 times. However, imports from India have grown even more and the trade deficit is glaring. Arrangements have been made to expedite exports of Nepalese goods to India by setting no restriction to the quantity of exports to India from Nepal. Nepal should take full advantage of the new environment envisaged in bilateral trade. Certain hurdles have been done away with like the certification process. This could now be done in Nepalese laboratories itself, and they are expected to raise the technical standards of Nepalese items, as well as quarantine and testing facilities.

Also a noteworthy feature of the treaty is the granting by India to Nepal the Most Favoured Nation Treatment to products manufactured in Nepal. Furthermore, four more Land Customs Stations are to be opened to facilitate bilateral trade as well as an open air traffic. The treaty further tries to simplify the trade and commerce between the two countries by making many improvements and taking the suggestions from the two respective sides. As is known, there is some unauthorized trade

going on, and this treaty has attempted to check them through mutual cooperation. Since much

of the trade is carried out by the private sector of

the two neighbouring countries, the treaty also envisages helping it enhance its professional capacities in trade matters as well as providing reliable information that would be of assistance in boosting trade. Another arrangement would be for trade in Indian rupees being treated at par with convertible foreign currency. This means that tax rebates and other benefits would accrue too from such transaction, ending the complexities of tax refund.

The treaty has offered much concessions to

Nepal and would further facilitate the export of Nepalese goods to India as well as encourage

Nepal to produce quality goods at competitive market price if they are to sell in the Indian market.

The long term goal of such an exercise would be in reducing the trade deficit. In the meantime,

Nepal stands to gain by the rapid strides made in the Indian economy. India has made it known that it wants its neighbours to be prosperous as well.

The Nepalese entrepreneurs should take positively this treaty favouring Nepal to a great extent so

that the goals of the revised treaty is achieved, which is the overall economic advancement of the peoples of both Nepal and India. This treaty should be seen as an achievement as it has been signed looking at both short and long term future.

Beating retreat

The retreat of the wonderful tigers from the natural habitat has the conservationists all worried. From an estimated 100,000, the tiger population

now has dwindled to a mere 4000. It is nothing else but the poachers’ appetite that has played havoc

with the tiger population. Despite the much-hyped tiger conservation project, the progress report

does only has gloom as the score sheet. The focus particularly now on the tigers is because of the four-day global tiger workshop that kicked off in Kathmandu on Tuesday. There are many areas that will come up in the gathering. The bright lining at the moment is the setting up of the regional anti-poaching secretariat in Nepal generating hopes of increasing the tiger numbers in Nepal.

The tigers are but of facet of the threats that the flora and fauna have been facing. Many have

become extinct, while the number of the endangered ones are a long list. If all goes on without any genuine intervention from the viewpoint of conservation,

the day is not far when we may have lost a major chunk of the beautiful living creatures on this planet. More than funds, it is the commitment and action plan implementation that must go together with people’s participation in the drive.