Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Service sector could balance trade deficit: Chinese Envoy

Growing number of Chinese tourists inflow should help Nepal balance its trade deficit with China, according to the newly appointed ambassador of China to Nepal Wu Chuntai.
Addressing a meeting with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) here today, the ambassador said that the expansion of service sector and wooing more Chinese tourists could help Nepal balance the trade deficit between the two neighbours.
Nepal's trade deficit with China stood at around Rs 52 billion in the last fiscal year 2011-12, according to the figures from the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC). "The trade deficit was around Rs 45 billion a fiscal year ago in 2010-11."
Despite China's duty free access to Nepal for over 100 products, China is only Nepal's fifth largest export market but second largest import market, the data revealed.
"The CCTV is planning to broadcast a documentary on Nepal, which will help promote tourism," he said, adding that Chinese film producers are filming a movie in Nepal which will also help promote Nepal in China. "Chinese aviation industry is keen to help Nepal by providing aircraft so that it can expand its national flag carrier’s fleet."
With a total of 17,341 arrivals, Chinese tourists comprises 12.1 per cent in the total number of tourists arrivals during the last three months from January to March as the number of Chinese tourists has been increasing in the recent years. In March alone, some 5,782 Chinese tourists visited Nepal via air. The number stood at 4,260 in the same month in 2012, according to the Nepal Tourism Board data.
Likewise, private sector to private sector cooperation will help promote government to government cooperation, the newly appointed envoy said, praising Nepal's private sector for its expertise on international trade.
Nepal is in between two smiling elephants, Chuntai said, asking the country to take benefit from growing economic power houses India and China. "Nepal should be a bridge between its neighbours that are second largest economy and 10th largest economy, apart from utilising its vast natural resources," he added. "China is helping Nepal in some of the mega projects like Ring Road expansion — for which a group of advanced Chinese engineers have already arrived in Kathmandu — Pokhara Regional International Airport, Upper Trishuli A and West Seti hydropower projects.
On the occasion, the president of FNCCI Suraj Vaidya urged China to help Nepal in development of infrastructure like Ring Road, Pokhara Regional International Airport, promotion of Lumbini, energy and mining sectors, schools and agriculture.
"Chinese investment in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even in India has increased by four to five folds in recent years," he said, asking the ambassador to expand development aid as unless economy flourishes, politics cannot sustain.
The private sector also sought help for the joint study on Nepal-China investment strategy, linking two markets via Nepal and establish quarantine labs at the Nepal-China border to help Nepal take benefit from the duty free market access as Nepal has comparative advantages in agri produces. They also sought help for construction of international trade exhibition centre in Kathmandu.

Chinese bank to come
KATHMANDU: The private sector sought the envoy's help on setting a Chinese bank in joint venture in Nepal. "Due to increasing trade and tourism activities in the recent years, there is a need of Chinese bank either in joint venture or branch in Nepal," said executive member of FNCCI and chairman of Global IME Bank Chandra Dhakal, on the occasion. The Chinese embassy is in talks with Nepal Rastra Bank and sooner, there will be some development," ambassador of China to Nepal Wu Chuntai said.


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