Monday, July 8, 2013

Chinese envoy asks to attract more Chinese tourists to bridge trade deficit

Chinese ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai has stressed the need to attract more Chinese tourists to Nepal.
“The number of Chinese tourists to Nepal has increased by 35 per cent,” he said, addressing 13th annual general meeting of Nepal China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI), here today.
“Nepal can reduce trade deficit with China by attracting more Chinese tourists,” he said adding that Nepal can take benefit from tourism by increasing the length of stay of Chinese tourists in Nepal.
Chinese government has declared Nepal as its outbound tourist destination so the arrival of Chinese tourists has been increasing in recent years. In 2012, more than 100,000 Chinese tourists visited Nepal.
Each year, more than 50 million Chinese tourists travel abroad, and if we are able to attract even a small fraction, it could be beneficial to our tourism industry.
With increasing trade, trade deficit has also been increasing with China.
There is a need to strengthen relation between private sectors of both the countries to explore new investment avenues, Wu added.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire, on the occasion, said that the government had laid high emphasis on economic diplomacy in cooperation with Nepali missions abroad and bi-national chambers to promote the country’s economic relation with major trading partners.
There is a need to develop infrastructure and bring more investment in Information and Technology, hydropower and tourism sectors, he added.
Nepal China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) on the occasion urged the government to coordinate with the private sector to reduce the trade gap with China.
Speaking on the occasion, president of the chamber Rajesh Kazi Shrestha expressed the need to strengthen trade relations with China as it is one of the major trading partners.
According to Trade and Export Promotion Centre’s (TEPC) data, Nepal suffers a trade deficit of around Rs 62 billion in 2012. “The huge trade deficit needs to be reduced and the government along with the private sector must work together in minimizing the trade gap,” he added.
Though, China is providing zero tariff facilities on 7,787 Nepali products, Nepal has failed to take advantage of these products, Shrestha said, adding that Nepali exporters still have not been able to grab the opportunity. “Due to the complicated process in quarantine, Nepali exporters have been facing problems in exporting food items, agriculture products and livestock.”
He also requested the government to discuss with Chinese counterparts to address the problem. “The government should also create an environment to issue quarantine certificates that are acceptable to the Chinese customs,” Shrestha said.
The bi-national chamber also requested both the governments to upgrade the existing transit routes for better connectivity through land route with proper infrastructure and simplified customs procedures to encourage trade between the two countries.
One of the dry ports at the Sino-Nepal border is under construction and if the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) could also be established at the border, Chinese investors could be attracted to Nepal, according to Shrestha, who also stressed on the need to increase the existing flight frequency and to take initiative for direct connectivity with major cities of China like Beijing and Shanghai to attract Chinese tourists.

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