Dahal, Xi ‘may finalise’ text on OBOR

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal has expressed reservations about free trade and financial transactions proposed by China

Mar 24, 2017-Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who left for China on Thursday to participate in the Boao Forum for Asia, is likely to finalise the text on Nepal’s participation in China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday in Beijing.

OBOR is China’s landmark programme to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe.

It has already been made official by the government that PM Dahal will not be signing any pacts or understandings—Transport And Transit Agreement (TTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to name a few—with the northern neighbour during his weeklong trip.

Nepal has already sent its comments on the OBOR initiative and has expressed reservations about free trade and financial transactions proposed by China. Kathmandu, however, has agreed to proposals like connectivity, investment, trade and energy. Officials say Nepal is not in a position to agree on the FTA with China given its inability to compete with Chinese goods, as Nepal could lose revenue in a huge amounts in the wake oF large trade deficit with the northern neighbour. Secondly, Nepal is also concerned about financial transaction in Chinese currency which China has proposed to conduct through branches of Chinese banks in Nepal, they say. 

“As a small country and small trading partner, Nepal has certain reservations about the proposal,” an official told the Post. “We have forwarded our comments to the Chinese side. During the PM’s visit, we are likely to finalise the text on OBOR and exchange drafts.”

 PM Dahal’s Foreign Relations Adviser Rishi Raj Adhikari told Post that the two leaders may exchange the agreed draft prepared for Nepal’s participation in OBOR. In its draft on OBOR sent to Kathmandu, Beijing has listed how South Asia in 

general and Nepal in particular can benefit from the projects under China’s flagship initiative. 

“I cannot say there will be any formal agreement during Dahal and Xi during their meeting. But the prime minister will certainly express Nepal’s desire for our participate in OBOR,” said Adhikari.

Published: 24-03-2017 08:24

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