Pre-shipment inspections, brokers needed to remove trade barriers

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 28, 2015-

The Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS) has said that Nepal could carry out pre-shipment inspections and use customs brokers in order to remove barriers to the free movement of trade goods. These are the measures a country should be able to implement to get technical assistance for infrastructure development and legal reforms from the World Trade Organization (WTO). 

According to the MoCS, Nepal has started using customs agents to clear the customs process of both imported and exported goods. “We are all set to implement the pre-shipment inspection process,” said Naindra Prasad Upadhyay of the MoCS. 

The pre-shipment inspection process includes appointing permanent agents in countries with which Nepal conducts trade to deal with customs related obstacles there. These measures have been taken in line with the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) signed during the WTO meeting in Bali, Indonesia in 2013. The TFA aims to fast track any movement of goods among countries by cutting down bureaucratic obligations. The landmark initiative was unveiled by the WTO on July 22, 2014. It seeks to help the developing countries and least developed countries reap the benefits of the TFA. These countries are expected to receive technical assistance from the WTO through this initiative to enable them to conduct free trade globally. 

The aforementioned two measures come under the A category of the TFA which should be notified to the WTO within a one year after the country is prepared to implement it. Following the notification, a country like Nepal can get technical assistance from the WTO to conduct legal reforms and manage the necessary infrastructure to facilitate trade.  Similarly, legal reforms come under the B category of the TFA. Institutional capacity building, infrastructure development and enforcement of information technology come under category C.

Mina Aryal, under-secretary at the MoCS, said Nepal had started work to assess the country’s ability to carry out legal reforms and manage the infrastructure necessary to facilitate trade. 

Aryal said the ministry was ready to notify the WTO regarding its readiness to implement clauses under category A. “The progress notification in this category could open up avenues for the country to receive technical support to enforce the conditions in the other two groups,” she said. “Regarding the clauses in the other two groups, we will start studying which clauses the country can implement on its own and which it cannot.” Presenting a paper, Allen Bruford, representative of the World Bank, said the TFA would provide technical assistance after assessing the country’s position in its legal framework, human resource capacity and infrastructure to facilitate the free movement of goods. 

Published: 29-07-2015 08:55

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