Friday, October 4, 2013

Nepal seeks MCC support from US

Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Kand oirala today asked the US government to support Nepal financially through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the US agency fighting global poverty.
During the meeting with the US ambassador Peter W Bodde, here at his office, the finance minister also said that the developed countries should give poor countries a preferential treatment.
Koirala also highlighted the export potential of Nepali agro-products like coffee and tea in the US market.
He told the US envoy that he would hold discussions on extending bilateral trade and investment during annual general meeting of World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be held in Washington DC.
Answering the minister Bodde asked the government to improve public financial management. “The new foreign assistance policy will certainly help Nepal,” he added.
The bilateral trade between Nepal and the US has not seen encouraging growth despite Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) that was expected to boost Nepal’s trade.
A new chapter began in the Nepal-US trade relationship with the signing of first ever TIFA and launching of a permanent Nepal-US Trade and Investment Council.
The newly established mechanism is expected to be extremely useful in improving Nepal’s market share in the US, though the two countries have repeatedly failed to meet as promised in the agreement.
“Despite Nepal’s less than satisfactory performance, export to the US increased by an average annual rate of 15 per cent per annum – from Rs 4.39 billion to Rs 5.69 billion – between fiscal year 2010-11 to fiscal year 2012-13, according to Nepal’s envoy to the US Dr Shankar Sharma.
“Nepal’s trade surplus also increased from Rs 46 million to Rs 53 million during the period,” he said, adding that the share of garment exports to the American market diminished greatly due to termination of Multi-Fiber Agreement (MFA) but US is still the number two destination of Nepali exports after India. “The  US is still the number one destination for Nepal’s exports of woolen carpets, garments, handicraft, paper products and silver jewelry and number two in Pasmina .”
On the other hand, Nepal is also waiting to get support from the
MCC that forms partnerships with some of the world´s poorest countries committed to good governance, economic freedom and investments in their citizens.

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