KATHMANDU, July 21: International Trade Center (ITC) has agreed to provide an assistance of US$ 1.4 (approximately Rs 125 million) to Nepal Pashmina Industries Association (NPIA) for the promotion of Nepali pashmina products.
The joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations made a formal pledge of the assistance on Friday, when its visiting delegation met with the pashmina manufacturers, exporters and related government officials.
According to the association, the assistance will be used to promote Nepali pashmina products in the international markets, enhance the image of the Nepali pashmina products, and establish Chyangra Pashmina - a trademark under which all Nepali pashmina items are branded - as a strong brand across the globe.
Under the assistance, the ICT will also support NPIA on designs, product development, diversification and marketing of Nepali pashmina products, and widely promote Chyangra Pashmina brand. It has also committed support for capacity building of NPIA.
Most importantly, the ICT has also agreed to support the industry in establishing the backward linkages; that is in promoting chyangra (mountain goats from which fine fur of pashmina is derived) farming and setting up processing plants, so that the industry could source the crucial raw material locally.
“These are critical supports and have come at a time when we needed it the most. We are confident it will help Nepali pashmina reclaim the lost glory in the international market,” NPIA said, issuing a press statement.
The three-member ITC mission, including senior expert on textile and clothing Matthias Knappe, trade support institutions expert John Gillies and country manager for Nepal Govind Venuprasad, is in the capital on a four-day visit since Tuesday.
Through this period, they interacted with top government officials and entrepreneurs, discussing on various trade related issues and ways to promote Nepali niche products in the global markets.
Officials at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) said the assistance will be used to execute all the aforesaid programs, which have been designed under Pashmina Enhancement and Trade Support (PETS) Project.
They said the ICT-committed support was a part of the assistance under Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). Apart from ICT pledged amount, the government would also provide $200,000 from its side to implement the project.
“The PETS Project will run for the next three years. We will formally sign an agreement to this connection with the ICT in September and kick off its implementation immediately,” said a senior MoCS official.
Under the PETS, the NPIA and the MoCS have also envisaged promoting sericulture to boost production of silk, setting up quality testing lab and conducting a feasibility study to set up pashmina spinning plants, among others.
Pashmina was one of Nepal´s top exportable products in late 1990s. Its exports in 2000/01 had exceeded Rs 8 billion. However, exports fast nosedived on the backdrop of soaring substandard supplies. Over the first 10 months of 2011/12, the country exported pashmina products worth Rs 1.61 billion.