India-Nepal agreement urged for electricity trading

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    KATHMANDU, DEC 21 –

    Energy-Poll-LinesThe Nepali private sector and a minister on Thursday urged India to sign power trade deal so that power could be traded like other goods between Nepal and India.

    Given Nepal has a huge hydropower potential and India is a big next-door market, foreign investors willing to invest in big hydropower projects in Nepal are asking the government to sign such a deal to ensure power trading.

    Nepal is currently relying on the Power Exchange Agreement with India for import/export of electricity. But since the agreement has put a cap on electricity trading, Nepal has long been demanding that India sign the pact. Energy Minister Umakanta asked the Indian government to agree on a power trade agreement draft that Nepal will forward during the Inter-government Committee meeting to be held in Kathmandu from December 21-22.

    Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of “India Investrade 2013”, a three-day exposition and buyer-seller meet being held in Bhrikutimandap, Kathma-ndu, Jha said the main challenge for the power sector is making supply affordable for the general people.

    Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata, in association with the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Indian Embassy in Nepal, are jointly organising the event.

    On the occasion, Saurya Rana, general secretary of Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said an approval of the “Umbrella Power-trade Agreement” would help expand bilateral power trade. He said Nepal could benefit from the Indian government’s policy of facilitating the energy sector. “The country could also benefit from the energy equipment industry of India which the Indian government has planned to energize for the next 10 years,” he said.

    Officials and experts from India and Nepal stressed on the need for promoting bilateral cooperation on promoting energy trade to reap mutual economic benefits. They said the focus should be on mutual collaboration on production as well as transmission and distribution of hydroelectricity.

    Deepak Amitabh, chairman of Power Trading Corporation, India, said they were ready to provide technical support to Nepal in power trading, provided Nepal maintained a conducive investment environment. He said the two countries could involve in energy trading if the Mujaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line is completed. “It could also help increase per capita energy consumption in both the countries,” he said.

    Anil Razdan, former power secretary of India, said Nepal could benefit from power trading after materialising the hydropower potential. “Amid the Indian government’s plan to expand electrification in 25,000 villages across India, Nepal can benefit,” he said, adding Nepal has to focus on attracting foreign investment for hydropower generation as well as distribution.

    The event is showcasing products related to power sector from 60 Indian companies.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post

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    Nepal-India trade talks from today

    KATHMANDU, Dec 21: After a gap of two years, Nepal and India are holding high-level trade talks in Kathmandu from Saturday to thrash out long standing and emerging trade issues between the two south Asian neighbors.

    The commerce secretary-level ´Inter-governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorized Trade´ is scheduled to conclude on Monday.

    Commerce Secretary Madhav Regmi and his Indian counterpart S R Rao are leading their respective delegations in the meeting. The last IGC meeting was held in New Delhi, India in December 2011.

    Though existing trade and transit treaties envisage holding trade talks at secretary or joint-secretary level in every six months in alternative locations in both countries, trade officials are sitting for the dialogue after a long wait.

    A source at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), both sides will review the implementation of issues agreed in the past meetings and discuss on emerging and longstanding issues during the three-day meeting.

    “We will try to come to the agreement on most of the outstanding as well as newly emerged issues which are crucial for bilateral trade,” said the source.
    During the meeting, both sides will discuss on measures for trade facilitation, control of unauthorized trade and facilitation for transit of goods, among other.

    Trade with India, the largest trade partner commanding two-thirds of Nepal´s trade, has not been in favor of Nepal due supply constraints amid slowdown in industrial sector.
    Official data shows Nepal imported goods worth Rs 137.87 billion from the southern neighbor over the first four months of fiscal year 2013/14 while its export during the period was confined to Rs 18.85 billion.

    The trade officials will also held discussion on whether to make amendment to the Nepal-India Treaty of Transit. Nepal has proposed to replace mandatory provision of importing imported vehicles through containers by introduce a new provision of transporting such vehicles on-its-own-power system. The Nepali said has also proposed to amend a provision in the treaty that bars export goods imported from third countries via Indian transit route.

    Opening up bulk cargo shipments along Kolkata-Jogbani-Biratnagar route and Kolkata-Nautanawa-Sunauli-Bhairawa routes, implementation of trans-shipment facility as agreed by India and operationalization of additional railway routes for Nepal´s third-country trade, cancellation of Counter-veiling Duty (CVD) on Nepali exports by Indian states, settlement of outstanding dues to be received by Nepal under the Duty Refund Procedure (DRP), mutual recognition of quality certificate issued by the designated authorities of both the countries, removal of customs duty for Indian cement and clinker, and abolition of agriculture reform fee on import of primary farm products from India are also among the agendas for the meeting.

    Other points for discussion are resuming circulation Indian banknotes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination in Nepal, speeding up the process of completing Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) under implementation along the border points, ways to facilitate Nepali private sector to import petroleum products, import of cows to increase milk production, operationalization of additional customs points, and restoration of margin of preference on import duty for Indian goods.

    Source : Republica