Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Nepal, China to sign transit trade pact protocol during president’s Beijing visit

Nepal and China are signing the Nepal-China Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) during President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit to Beijing. The signing of the much-hyped and long-awaited protocol is expected to give Nepal alternative ports to the third country trade from the Indian ports.
The President is visiting Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. President Bhandari is scheduled to leave for China on April 24. Bhandari will address the Belt and Road Forum on April 25. She is expected to return home on April 28.
The protocol – that will pave the way for the implementation of the TTA – is planned to be exchanged between secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply Kedar Bahadur Adhikari and a Chinese vice-minister on behalf of their respective governments in the presence of Bhandari and Xi.
Nepal and China initialled the protocol of the agreement, which was signed in March 2016 during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s China visit, in Kathmandu on September 7. After few revisions, both the governments have endorsed it for formal signing. The cabinet approved the protocol some two weeks ago and the Chinese government had also endorsed it.
At the time of the protocol’s finalisation in September, the two countries had agreed to formally sign the protocol during a high-level visit.
The protocol of the TTA will allow Nepal to use Shenzen, Lianyungang, Zhanjiang and Tianjin seaports, ending Nepal’s sole dependence on Indian ports for overseas trade. Nepal will also been allowed to use Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse dry ports. According to the protocol, Nepali traders will also be allowed to use any mode of transport – rail or road – to access the seaports for third-country trade.
President's delegation will include Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supply Matrika Prasad Yadav, secretary Adhikari and Nepal’s ambassador to China Lilamani Poudyal.
During the Beijing visit, President Bhandari will meet President Xi and extend him a formal invitation to visit Nepal. Though, Xi has already visited South Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives, he has yet to visit Nepal. Xi is expected to visit Nepal shortly after Bhandari’s visit to Beijing. 

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