Friday, August 30, 2013

Government preparing a new list of products for GSP facility

The government is preparing a new list of domestic products that it seeks for a duty-free facility in the US market.
The government has formed a team led by executive director of Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC) Iswori Ghimire – including private sector representatives – to suggest the list of products to be included in Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
The US has requested Nepal to sent a new list of products to be added in the current list of GSP by October 4.
Though, the legal authorisation of GSP programme expired on July 31, the US Congress is considering a legislation that would extend the authorisation of GSP that is a programme designed to promote economic growth in the 127 countries of developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products.
Manufactured items like different types of chemicals, minerals and building stone, jewelry, carpets and some agricultural and fishery products are some of the products eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP facility, whereas some textiles and apparel products, watches, footwear, handbags and luggage products are not eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP.
As the Readymade Garments (RMGs) exports to the US market witnessed a plunge after the US ended the Duty Free-Quota-Free facility in 2005, Nepal has been repeatedly asking the US government to provide GSP facility for 11 Readymade Garments (RMGs) and pashmina products.
Since the US has been imposing an average of 17 per cent customs duty on Nepali RMGs and pashmina products, it has made Nepali products less competitiveness –  compared to the products from other countries that are enjoying GSP facility – in the US market.
Likewise, Nepali hand-knitted carpet is getting limited access to the US market due to comparatively liberal customs duty compared to that for RMG and pashmina products.
However, Nepal is still in comfortable position in bilateral trade with the US as the export still surpasses imports, unlike with other countries. But the US is fast bridging its trade deficit with Nepal.
The data of Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) revealed that in the year 2012, Nepal exported Rs 5.13 billion and imported Rs 4.75 billion worth merchandise from the US. Likewise, a year ago, in 2011, the export stood at Rs 5.24 billion and import at Rs 4.58 billion.

TIFA bilateral forum talks on cards
KATHMANDU: The Ministry of  Commerce and Supplies is preparing to host Nepal-US bilateral trade talks under Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that has been repeatedly postponed since last three years. The bilateral agreement has envisages Nepal and the US Council on Trade and Investment – a commerce secretary level permanent mechanism – meeting once a year. Nepal and the US signed the bilateral agreement in Washington on April 16, 2010, setting up a bilateral forum for trade dialogue but could not meet even once since then.

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