Monday, July 23, 2012

Nepal-Bangladesh talks next week

Nepal and Bangladesh are holding a secretarial level meeting next week to discuss trade and transport facilitation between the two countries.
Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has prepared its agenda to discuss trade facilitation and promotion with Bangladesh during the meeting that will be held on July 29-30 in Kathmandu, said joint secretary at the ministry Naindra Prasad Upadhyaya.
"The ministry is planning to seek zero tariff facility with Bangladesh during the secretarial level meeting," he said.
The commerce secretary level meeting was earlier proposed for May but was postponed due to inconvenience of Bangladesh. The meeting aims at developing connectivity between the two South Asian nations to promote bilateral trade relations.
The volume of bilateral trade has not seen much improvement lately despite tremendous potentials for expanding and diversifying the trade between the two countries.
Nepal mainly exports lentils, oil cakes, cardamom, wheat, vegetable seeds, noodles to Bangladesh, whereas imports industrial raw materials, chemicals, fabrics and textile materials, jute products, electric and electronic items.
Bangladesh has provided Nepal transit facility at Chittagong and Mongla Ports, whereas the overland trade and transit route to Bangladesh from Kakarbhitta-Phulbari-Banglabandha has also been operational since September 1997.
Bangladesh has also provided additional rail corridor to Nepal through Rohonpur- Sighbad for bilateral trade and transit.
On September 6, 2011, India and Bangladesh signed an addendum to a 1978 India-Bangladesh memorandum of understanding between themselves regarding the use of Rohanpur-Singhabad rail transit route.
Nepal has also prepared agendas for transport facility, according to the ministry.
According to the revised Trade Agreement of 2009 between Nepal and India, Nepal cannot provide similar tariff facility to third country. However, Bangladesh is keen to see Nepal use Mongla and Chittagong Ports for international trade.
Bangladesh had already offered Nepal and Bhutan the access to Mongla and Chittagong Ports. Opening up the two Ports to Nepal will not only bolster bilateral trade but also could hugely enhance Nepal’s exports beyond the region.
Currently, Nepal is using Fulbari-Banglabandha transit route.

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