KATHMANDU, April 26: The government on Thursday has decided to seek Japanese assistance for the construction of some major projects, including Upper Seti Hydropower Project, during the upcoming visit of Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.
Gemba´s visit is the first by any Japanese foreign minister in 35 years. He is arriving in Nepal on Saturday to express Japan´s solidarity with the recent developments in the peace process and constitution writing and to extend support to Nepal´s economic development, said government officials.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with officials from various other ministries in a bid to finalize the agenda for talks with the Japanese foreign minister.
"We have concluded that Nepal should seek assistance from Japan for the construction of some major projects, including Upper Seti," said a senior official.
Similarly, the government has also decided to request the Japanese government to provide loan assistance for the development of 200 MW Upper Seti, and grant assistance for the expansion of the six-lane Tinkune-Suryabinayak road up to Dhulikhel.
During the Japanese foreign minister´s visit, the government is also likely to seek preferential entry facility for Nepali goods.
Preferential market access facility is being pushed mainly as Nepali exports to Japan are presently subjected to high tariffs, and this has been restricting exports of even high-demand products like pashmina, tea and organic coffee, among others.
“This facility can help us plug growing trade deficit,” said an official at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies. Presently, Nepal´s exports to Japan stands at just over Rs 500 million, while imports stand at around Rs 6.50 billion, resulting in trade deficit of around Rs 6 billion.
The government is also likely to request Japan to extend support for the establishment of quality certification laboratory.