FNCCI, Austrian chamber sign collaboration pact

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 1, 2017-

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to expand collaboration between the private sectors of the two countries to promote trade, commerce and technology transfer. 

FNCCI President Bhawani Rana and AFEC Vice-President Richard Schenz signed the pact on behalf of their respective organisations. It is expected to facilitate sharing of information and exchange of business delegation visits. The two sides have also agreed to review the agreement they signed in 1993. 

Austria has been providing financial and technical support to various sectors in Nepal. The key areas of development cooperation involve hydroelectricity, infrastructure development, conservation of ancient temples, drinking water supply and eco-tourism development. 

Namche Small Hydroelectric Project, Patan Museum, Garden of Dreams at Keshar Mahal, Kathmandu and Rolwaling eco-tourism are some of the projects that have been completed under Austrian cooperation.

Nepal’s trade with Austria has also been increasing in recent years. According to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, the value of the commerce between the two countries swelled to Rs645.47 million in 2016 from Rs364.15 million in 2012. 

Last year, Nepal exported goods worth Rs243.15 million while imports from Austria amounted to Rs402.32 million. 

Major exports to Austria include paper and paper products, woollen carpets, handicrafts, readymade garments, silverware and jewellery. Likewise, Nepal’s key imports from Austria in terms of value are machinery and parts and communications equipment. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Industry Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa urged the Austrian side to invest in Nepal. “As the government has adopted a policy to create an investment-friendly environment, this agreement can benefit both countries through the exchange of knowledge, skills and technology,” Thapa said.

Industry Secretary Yam Kumari Khatiwada said Nepal had simplified the procedure for transferring profits for foreign companies besides implementing online company registration and promoting an industrial village. 

“Similarly, the country has declared tourism and infrastructure development as priority areas to facilitate foreign direct investment in these sectors,” Khatiwada added. 

Austrian Ambassador to Nepal Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer said that Austrian entrepreneurs had been encouraged to invest in Nepal. “The bilateral ties could help bolster the relationship in economic areas in the coming days,” she added.

Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, executive committee member of the FNCCI, said Nepal could benefit from Austrian assistance in hydropower and transportation including cable car operation. He sought bilateral cooperation to reduce the cost of tourism through effective infrastructure development and help attract a large number of tourists.

Participants at the ceremony stressed the need for effective implementation of a one-window policy to promote a business-friendly environment in sectors with a high competitive advantage. 

According to them, the policy can also help Nepal attract a significant amount of foreign direct investment and technology transfer in infrastructure development to realise the objective of socio-economic development. 

Published: 01-11-2017 08:22

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