Thursday, September 29, 2016

Government launches NTIS 2016 trimming exportable items' list

With an ambitious target to double the export of NTIS products to around 4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, the government has today launched the revised Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS), putting 12 sectors in priority.
It has trimmed the list of goods and services having high export potentials to 12 from 19 in the NTIS 2010 on the basis of comparative and competitive advantages.
According to the revised NTIS or NTIS-2016, the list now has nine products and three services. The new list has prioritised medicinal and aromatic plants, black cardamom, ginger and tea under agriculture produces, and leather products, footwear products, readymade garment, pashmina and hand-knotted carpet under industry category.
Likewise, remittance generating services, IT, BPO and IT Engineering, and tourism are the service products in the NTIS-2016.
Launching the NTIS-2016 today, commerce minister Romi Gaucahn Thakali said that the government was trying to reduce the cost of production of agriculture and industrial products.
However, traders and exporters have complained that the government initiative was simply insufficient to give a boost to exports. Chronic energy crisis and labuor problem are some of the constraints to export growth, they added.
The Ministry of Commerce had revised the NTIS-2010 as per the suggestions of the exporters after export of key products declined continuously despite getting high priority.
NTIS is one of the ambitious programmes that the government launched to promote products and services having high export potentials since last six years. However, export of most of the 19 NTIS products has been disappointing in recent years.
According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), export of NTIS products increased by a mere 2.08 per cent to Rs 27.41 billion in the last fiscal year. Export of NTIS products is around two per cent of the GDP at present.
Meanwhile, the strategy has set immediate targets that need to be achieved by 2017 and medium-term targets by 2020.
It will also clarify which authority will look after specific products, the ministry officials said, adding that the revised NTIS envisions creating an enabling environment for trade by strengthening the supply capacity as well as institutional capacity development of trade-related institutions. "Capacity enhancement of trade-related institutions could be highly supportive in reducing cost of trade through initiation of various measures."
Commenting that the NTIS 2016 is ‘realistic’, National Planning Commission (NPC) member Dr Swarnim Wagle, on the occasion, said that the country’s export has been slowing due to supply-side incompetencies, deficiencies on the regulatory front, and less than optimum cooperation from the government since the beginning of the new century. Citing examples of some ‘high value to weight ratio’ products like Kobold watches, Sherpa Adventure gear, organic tea, software and creative apps and ophthalmic lenses developed by Tilganga Institute, he said that some Nepali products have been doning amazingly well in the international market by efficiently branding their products
Nepal as a young populous country should not skip manufacturing and rather focus on reviving the manufacturing sector, especially along the Tarai belt, Wagle said, highlighting the possibility of creating mass employment by linking up the Nepali industries with Indian production networks as well as regional and global value chain.
Stressing on the need of complementary reforms, he said that reform and industrial enterprise development, foreign direct investment, labour reforms, logistic industry development, our ambition in tourism all need to be taken simultaneously. "Horizontal reforms or high quality improvements in entire sectors at the same time could be almost impossible for a country like Nepal, which is when anchor investment could be the next best option and Nepal is also focusing on the second alternative, like the special economic zones, targeted investment approaches."
Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) – the aid for trade mechanism of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and various other development partners for productive capacity enhancement of least developed countries – has been providing support for NTIS implementation.

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