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Third meeting on transit and transportation next week

  • Nepal-China trade
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 30, 2018-

Nepal will be holding a third round of meetings with a team of Chinese government officials to discuss key points of the protocol to implement the Transit and Transportation Agreement. The meetings are scheduled to be held from September 4-6, in Kathmandu.

The two countries have taken the initiative because earlier meetings regarding the protocol between the two parties were inconclusive. According to the Ministry for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, a nine-member Chinese team, led by the director general of the Department of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, will be visiting Nepal to hold the three-day talk. The Commerce Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire will lead the Nepali team. Rabi Shankar Sainju, spokesperson of the ministry, said the technical meeting is expected to give the agreement its final shape.

According to him, the first meeting was focused on framing the protocol agendas, while the second was focused on solidifying the underlying principles of those agendas. In 2016, Nepal and China signed the Transit and Transportation Agreement to open a gateway for Nepal to use Chinese seaports to enhance its trade with third countries. However, till date the protocol that will bring the agreement into effect is still being formulated.

A month and a half ago, a second round of talks had been conducted in Beijing, China. However, as both sides failed to reach a consensus, they agreed to hold this third meeting in Kathmandu.

With the agreement, Nepal hopes to use three Chinese seaports—Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou—and three land ports to enhance its trade with third countries. And although China has principally agreed to provide access to the seaports, nothing has been finalised as of yet. The Nepali side has been pressing China to provide specific routes for the access of these ports. Until now, Nepal has been allowed to use two ports of India—at Kolkata/Haldiya and Visakhapatnam—as gateways for third-country trade.

Along with the access of the seaports, issues such as the transit operation modality, the import- and export-procedure, mode of transport and customs clearance, among others, will be discussed in the meeting that is going to be held in Kathmandu, according to the ministry.

The draft of the protocol that Nepal had prepared also proposes multimodal transports through road and railway to carry out Nepal’s third-country trade via China. Starting interbank market connectivity between the two countries and building necessary infrastructure are also among the main issues in the protocol draft that Nepal had forwarded.

Nepal is also hoping to sign a free trade agreement with China, while also asking for its assistance in establishing special economic zones and in reopening the Tatopani trade route.

In addition, Nepal has also proposed China to construct dry ports in Yari in Humla, Olangchungola in Taplejung, Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha and Nechung in Mustang.

Published: 30-08-2018 08:29

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