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Nepal: Bilateral trade talks with Bhutan on Tuesday

Asian Tribune (World Institute for Asian Studies), Sweden

Bilateral Trade Talks with Bhutan on Tuesday

By Kosh R. Koirala

23 May 2011

Kathmandu: Nepal and Bhutan are holding bilateral trade talks in Bhutanese capital city Thimpu on Tuesday in order to promote bilateral trade between the two landlocked countries in South Asia.

The two-day joint-secretary level talk is also aimed at sharing experiences and best practices in hydropower generation and tourism promotion.

Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has held consultations with various stakeholders including traders and exporters to set the agenda during the talks. Nepal expects to explore the possibility of expanding its exports to Bhutan.

Bhutan has emerged as one of the potential export destinations for Nepal as it presently enjoys comfortable trade surplus with Druk kingdom. While Nepal exports industrial products, such as electricity transformers, noodles and handicrafts to Bhutan it imports fruits, tomatoes and other agro-based products from there.

Nepal and Bhutan so far do not have formal bilateral trade agreement though both the countries are signatories to the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), a regional trade agreement to promote intra-regional trade.

Officials said Nepali delegation will also seek to learn from Bhutan´s experience in attracting foreign investments in hydropower generation and tourism promotion.

As the Himalayan nation is celebrating Nepal Tourism Year 2011 with an aim to bring in one million tourists in the year, the country faces acute power crisis.