Govt, WB to jointly work for trade facilitation, exports growth
KATHMANDU, June 8: The government, in its efforts to boost exports, has taken an initiative to develop a project that would facilitate outward trade by improving quality of laboratories, custom facilities and enhancing roads corridors in the bordering areas with an assistance of the World Bank.
The project, which is yet to take a concrete shape in terms of investment and duration, will mainly focus on implementing the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010 -- government´s blueprint to boost the export of the country.
“The preliminary negotiations are going on,” an official at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) told Republica on Friday.
The NTIS has enlisted 17 commodities and services sectors in which Nepal is identified to possess comparative advantage. Officials said the project is being negotiated and will be designed on the basis of the NTIS. “Both the Ministry and the WB has already agreed in principle over developing a project that would facilitate in the development of NTIS products and services and laying down trade-related infrastructures to support their exports,” the official said.
If things went as planned, MoCS officials said they would finalize the details of the project such as cost and nature of finances, the ratio of loan and grant by next week.
Going by the agreement reached so far, the project will address the problems related to trade and transit, especially transportation and laboratories. "We have laid special emphasis on the laboratory development and accreditation of quality certification because most of the exporters in Nepal have been complaining difficulties in quarantine and quality issues," said the source.
The project can serve as a strong back-up for us since most of the goods that are enlisted in the NTIS 2010 are agricultural products, said Jib Raj Koirala, under-secretary of the MoCS, confirming the preliminary developments made on the project.
He even disclosed that Asian Development Bank (ADB) too has expressed interest to support the government to facilitate trade and support export sector. However, the MoCS is still to be clear on areas in which ADB could support the country. “
"It is yet to come into light what ADB wants to suppor”," said the source.
Koirala, on the other hand, said MoCS was willing and would try to bring both ADB and World Bank on board to implement NTIS. “If that happened, the project can really make meaningful contribution in transforing the country´s external trade," he stated. However, it is yet clear whether the two multilateral donors will respond to its plan positively.