India mulling greater access to Nepalese goods to reduce yawning trade gap

India mulling greater access to Nepalese goods to reduce yawning trade gap

Kathmandu, May 12 ( The Indian and Nepalese Prime Ministers have agreed to comprehensively review bilateral trade to facilitate greater access for Nepalese goods to the Indian market and reduce the yawning trade gap.

In 2016-2017 for example, Nepal had imported from India goods worth US$ 39,604.3 million dollars but had sold to India goods worth only US$ 2590.3 million. The gap had increased by  32.8% over the previous year.

The decision to review the entire gamut of trade relations and address the trade gap was taken at the second summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart, K.P.Sharma Oli held at Kathmandu on May 11 and 12.

The issue of the trade deficit was brought up by the Nepalese Prime Minister Oli.

In fact, at the recently held Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to control unauthorized trade a decision had already been taken to jointly initiate a comprehensive review of the Bilateral Treaty of Trade with a view to further facilitating Nepal’s access to the Indian market.

Modi and Oli agreed to enhance overall bilateral trade, and facilitate Nepal’s transit trade.

The two Prime Ministers directed their respective officials to address all outstanding matters by September 2018.

Modi and Oli agreed to take further steps to enhance the economic and physical connectivity by air, land, and water. They  directed officials to expand cooperation in civil aviation sector, including early technical discussion on additional air entry routes to Nepal by respective technical teams.

They also agreed to implement bilateral initiatives in agriculture, railway linkages and inland waterways development, as agreed upon by the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Oli to India in April.

The two Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of advancing cooperation in water resources for mutual benefit in areas such as river training works, inundation and flood management, irrigation, and to enhance the pace of implementation of ongoing bilateral projects.

Modi and Oli jointly laid the foundation stone of 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal.

Ramayana Circuit

With a view to further strengthening the close religious and cultural ties between the two countries and peoples, the two Prime Ministers launched Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit connecting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, with Ayodhya and other sites associated with the epic Ramayana.

In Janakpur, the two Prime Ministers flagged off the inaugural direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya.

(The featured picture at the top shows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Nepalese counterpart K.P.Sharma Oli)