Nepal-Bangladesh Commerce Talks Set to Bolster Economic Relations ➤

Nepal-Bangladesh Commerce Talks Set to Bolster Economic Relations

Discussions Aim to Enhance Connectivity, PTA Not on Agenda

Nepal and Bangladesh are gearing up for a commerce secretary-level meeting in Kathmandu, focusing on fortifying economic ties and regional connectivity. However, the long-awaited bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) won’t be addressed during the discussions, according to informed sources.

The two-day meeting, to be chaired by Commerce Secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire from Nepal and Commerce Ministry Senior Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh from Bangladesh, aims to enhance cooperation and trade relations between the two nations.

During the sixth Nepal-Bangladesh commerce secretary-level meeting in October 2020, discussions centered on signing a bilateral PTA for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations. However, PTA deliberations are not included in the current agenda.

Bangladeshi media reports indicate Dhaka’s preparations, forming expert delegations to address PTA, transit, and customs-related matters during the meetings.

A senior official at Nepal’s Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies emphasized that unless Bangladesh removes additional duties on Nepali goods, signing the PTA won’t benefit Nepal. The prerequisite for any bilateral preferential trade, according to Nepal, is the elimination of these hidden charges.

Despite Bangladesh’s request for PTA signing in 2020 amid growing trade activities, Nepal insisted on the removal of additional duties, resulting in delays exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen from Bangladesh is set to attend the third Nepal-Bangladesh Foreign Office Consultation meeting, emphasizing broad cooperation between the two nations.

Nepal’s exports to Bangladesh have been declining due to high tariffs, with lentils dominating exports in recent years. However, officials highlight the potential exportable products to Bangladesh, including broom grass, spices, fruits, and dairy products.

Efforts to strengthen trade relations include exploring technology transfers from Bangladesh’s garment industry to Nepal and fostering foreign direct investment. Nepal’s urge for duty-free access expansion for key exportable items underscores the need for enhanced trade facilitation.