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Nepal unveils new commerce policy

The Hindu, India

Nepal unveils new commerce policy

8 April 2009

Kathmandu (Xinhua) : The Nepal government has unveiled a new commerce policy that aims at economic development and poverty alleviation by enhancing the contribution to national economy through commerce, a media report said on Wednesday.

Commerce and Supplies Minister Rajendra Mahato announced the new policy at a press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The Commerce Policy-2009 replaces the existing policy formulated in 1992.

The new policy was formulated after a series of consultations with concerned stakeholders. It is believed to have been updated to meet the needs of changing times, and Nepal’s obligations as a member of the international community, The Rising Nepal newspaper reported.

Mahato said the policy was introduced to reduce Nepal’s trade deficit while making it compatible with international trade regulations.

The old policy needed to be replaced with the new one in view of the agreements signed with WTO (World Trade Organisation), the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), as well as with India in matters of trade and commerce.

Commerce Secretary Purushottam Ojha said the policy would address the changes and upheavals seen in Nepal’s trade and commerce with the rest of the world.

The policy intends to help the private sector to enhance its professional capacity in matters of trade, by exchanging reliable information with trade partners, and adjusting customs, transit, and standards certification processes with other countries.

It is expected that the policy would make transit facility convenient and cost effective while removing other constraints concerning exports.

The policy encourages export industries and envisions to set up a trade board led by commerce minister. The board will also have commerce secretary, Nepal Rastra Bank (the central bank) governor, and representatives of private sector and experts.

It will establish a Trade Promotion Institute with the involvement of the private sector. Other policy goals are to promote employment opportunities, identify new exportables with comparative advantages and integrate export industries with local markets.

It expects to protect intellectual property rights (IPRs) related to trade and commercial activities.