‘Hydropower, tourism can bring down trade deficit with India’

KATHMANDU, July 26:

Nepal-IndiaBusiness people and experts have suggested to the government to focus on hydropower and tourism sectors to bring down ballooning trade deficit with India.

Speaking at the Business Conclave — a monthly dialogue on Nepal-India trade, they also expressed dissatisfaction over weak implementation of trade and transit agreements which envisage facilitating bi-lateral trade.

“Our trade deficit with India has grown exponentially over the past decade. We must agree that we have not been able control it,” Arun Chaudhary, former president of Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI), said. “We have to promote hydropower and tourism, on which we have competitive edge, to reduce the yawning trade deficit with the southern neighbor.”

Data shows Nepal´s trade deficit with India rose to Rs 250 billion during 2011/12, compared to Rs 104 billion recorded in 2007/08, Rs 44 billion in 2002/03 and Rs 18 billion in 1998/99.

Nepal suffered trade deficit of Rs 316 billion with the third largest economy of Asia during the first eleven months of 2012/13.
Chaudhary said strong political will would be necessary to change the situation.

Speaking on the occasion, Purushottam Ojha, former secretary at the Ministry of Commerce Supplies Secretary, underlined the fundamentals of the existing trade and transit related treaties with India — the largest trading partner of Nepal.

“Trade treaties need to be reviewed as per the changed context of global trade. The agreements should be for a fairly longer period with the provisions of bringing changes and termination by giving prior notice to the other party,” said Ojha.

He also said both the countries should address supply constraints, implement trade facilitation measures, particularly focusing on upgrading border infrastructures, mutual recognition and accreditation of the test and certification processes, exchange of trade related data, and allowing temporary entry to equipment and machinery for repair and maintenance purpose, among others.

“It is necessary for Nepal to work closely with India for increasing its export trade with a view to reducing the widening trade deficit and sustaining trade in the longer term. Coordinated effort to enhance the supply capacity and ensure market access by resolving the issues of trade and transport facilitation is necessary,” added Ojha.

Jaideep Mazumdar, Charge d´Affaires of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, suggested to the Nepal government to give high priority to power generation so that surplus energy can be exported. “Nepal can bring down skyrocketing trade deficit with the export of surplus energy and bring down the cost of production in local industries,” said Mazumdar.

Mazumdar informed that around 500 Indian joint venture firms have invested IRs 30 billion, closely around 50 percent of the total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nepal, giving employment to over 60,000 locals.

Shasi Raj Pandey, president of NICCI, said trade with India cannot be in favor of Nepal due to absence of effective implementation of bi-lateral trade and transit related treaties.

On the occasion, Suraj Vaidya, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), lamented that economic agendas were not in the first priority of both Nepal and India.

Source : Republica

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India willing to sign power trade pact with Nepal

KATHMANDU: Charge-d-affaire at the Indian Embassy in Nepal Jaideep Mazumdar on Friday said India is willing to sign power trade agreement with Nepal to liberalise imports and exports of electricity between the two neighbouring countries.

“Yes, we’re ready to sign the agreement with Nepal,” Mazumdar told the first session of Nepal-India Business Conclave, a monthly talk series organised jointly by the Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Indian Embassy in Nepal.

Nepal is currently relying on Power Exchange Agreement for import and export of electricity. But since the agreement has put a cap on electricity trading, Nepal has long been demanding that India sign the pact that opens the floodgates for imports and exports of power.

“We are positive about signing the agreement as it would benefit northern Indian states, which are now depending on fuels like coal that is polluting the environment,” Mazumdar said.

Mazumdar’s statement comes at a time when various international investors are urging Nepal to sign a power trade agreement with India so that hydroelectricity that Nepal has potential to generate can be exported to India.

President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Suraj Vaidya said it was essential to boost power production to reduce cost of production in Nepal. “Boosting power production here would also create a win-win situation for both the countries,” the Charge-d-affaire at the Indian Embassy said.

Source : The Himalayan Times

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Experts urge concrete steps to cut trade deficit with India

KATHMANDU, JUL 27 –

With Nepal’s trade deficit with India increasing every year, business men and trade experts have stressed on the need for concrete actions from the both the countries to minimise the deficit.

Addressing the Nepal-India Business Conclave here on Friday, Commerce Secretary Janardan Nepal said the government has been making every possible effort to arrest the growing trade deficit with India. The conclave is a monthly talk programme jointly organised

by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and the Nepal-India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) to identify, discuss and resolve Nepal-India trade-related problems.

Jaideep Mazumdar, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy, said Nepal would not be able to minimise the deficit unless it harnessed the maximum identified hydropower potential. Stating India is ready to sign power trade agreement (PTA) with Nepal, he said: “India will sign the PTA once Nepal ensures the energy can be exported to India.”

Former Commerce Secretary Purushottam Ojha said the reason why Nepal has been incurring a huge trade deficit with India is the countries haven’t adopted international models and stands in their bilateral agreements.

“Although several changes have taken place in the sector of trade and transit globally in the last 35 years, no such changes have been adopted by Nepal and India in their bilateral agreements,” he said, requesting the Indian government to let Nepal use Visakhapatnam Port which would help Nepal get more flexibility in its transit preferences.

NICCI President Sashi Raj Pandey said Nepali products should be competitive so as to secure place in the Indian market. He said unless the Nepal government comes up with programmes to curb the growing trade deficit, the results would be more terrible than one can imagine. He said despite the two countries signing a number of trade-related agreements, there are some hitches in fair implementation of those agreements which resulted in Nepal’s growing trade deficit.

Arun Chaudhary, immediate past president of NICCI, said due to higher production costs, Nepal’s products are losing their influence in the Indian market. He recommended instead of promoting all local products, the Nepal government should concentrate on the promotion of the hydropower sector and export the energy to India.

Source : The Kathmandu Post