Friday, July 26, 2013

Hydropower development dominates Nepal-India talks

Hydropower development dominated the first talk show of the monthly series of Nepal-India Business Conclave organised jointly by Nepal-India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, here today.
A host of speakers, on the occasion, highlighted hydropower as a panacea not only for the economic development of the country but an effective tool to bridge the widening trade deficit between the two South Asian neighbours.
Nepal would not be able to minimise trade deficit unless it harnessed the maximum identified hydropower potential, commerce secretary Janardan Nepal said, adding that the government has been making every possible effort to arrest the growing trade deficit with India.
Likewise, NICCI president Sashi Raj Pandey, on the occasion, said that Nepali products should be competitive enough to secure place in Indian market.
It is essential to boost hydropower also to reduce cost of production and make domestic products competitive in the Indian market, said president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Suraj Vaidya.
Due to higher production costs, Nepal’s products are losing competitive edge in the Indian market,” immediate past president of NICCI Arun Chaudhary said, asking the government to promote hydropower and export it to India to bridge the widening trade deficit.
Nepal has posted a total trade deficit of Rs 438.67 billion in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, according to the data of central bank that has revealed that the trade deficit with India alone stood at Rs 315.92 billion.
The businessmen of both the countries, on the occasion, dwelt on various aspects of Nepal-India trade-related problems. They also emphasised on the need to further expanding and diversifying trade and business relations between the two countries for the common benefit.
Presenting the overview of Nepal-India trade former commerce secretary Purushottam Ojha said both the countries must adopt international models and walk the talks according to the bilateral agreements. “The world has seen various changes in last 35 years, but Nepal and India has not been able to adopt and upgrade bilateral agreements,” he said, requesting to connect the customs of both the countries via net and go for paperless system to increase efficiency of the customs that can help boost trade.
He also requested the Indian government to let Nepal use Visakhapatnam Port that is expected to help Nepal get more flexibility in its exports and increase competitiveness.

India ready to sign PTA with Nepal
KATHMANDU: Charge-d-affaire of the Indian Embassy in Nepal Joydeep Mazumdar said India is ready to sign Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with Nepal. “India is ready to sign PTA anytime soon,” he said, during the first talk show of monthly Nepal-India Business Conclave, organised jointly by Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) and the Indian Embassy in Nepal, in Kathmandu on Friday. “India will sign the PTA once Nepal ensures the energy can be exported to India,” he added. The PTA is expected to liberalise imports and exports of electricity between the two countries. The agreement will not only open door for more Indian investment but also foreign investment in mega hydropower projects in Nepal – as it will guarantee the Indian market access for Nepali hydel projects – that is currently relying on Power Exchange Agreement (PEA) for mostly import and also for export of electricity from and to India. The PEA has, however, limitation on electricity trading.

Indian investments generate 30,000 employment in Nepal
KATHMANDU: Indian investors, who pumped in $3.25 million foreign direct investment into Nepal, have generated some 30,000 employments, according to a top Indian diplomat said on Friday. “Indian investors have played a key role in the economic development of Nepal with 501 Indian joint ventures accounting for FDI worth Rs 3.23 billion ($3.25 million) said Charge de' affairs of Indian Embassy at Nepal Joydeep Majumdar, addressing the first talk show of the monthly talk series of Nepal-India business conclave jointly organised by Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NICCI) and Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. “The extensive privileges, facilities and assistance extended by India to Nepal, coupled with India's own economic growth and a market of 1.2 billion people, could be instrumental in driving Nepali economy towards high growth,” he said, adding that Nepal government should also walk hand-in-hand complementing India with renewed commitment for improving the investment and business climate in Nepal. “Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for 47.5 per cent of the total FDI projects approved by the government with a total investment of IRs 42.53 billion,” former commerce secretary Purushottam Ojha added.

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