KATHMANDU, July 2: Ministry of Commerce(MoC) and International Trade Center (ITC), Geneva are working jointly to develop Sector Export Strategy(SES) of four products and conduct a large-scale survey on exporters’ experiences with Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in Nepal and destination markets.
These products have been selected from the Trade Policy 2016 and Nepal Trade Integration Strategy NTIS 2016.
The ITC team accompanied with the focal point Mina Aryal from the MoC and the two navigators Dr Pradyumna Pandey from MoAD and Bimal Nepal from TEPC presented the preliminary results of the sector consultations and NTM Business Survey on Friday.
While chairing the program, Toya Narayan Gyawali, officiating secretary of the MoC said that development of SES and survey on NTMs are in line the trade policy 2016 and these initiatives are instrumental to enhance Nepal trade capacity building and competitive strength which have positive impact in socio-economic prospects of Nepal.
To develop export strategy in a participatory way, 4 stakeholders consultations were already conducted as part of the first phase of the SES design process between June 20th and June 30th in different regions including Jhapa for large cardamom, Ilam for tea, Pokhara for coffee and Kathmandu for handmade paper and paper products.
The stakeholder consultations in the districts were managed by the Trade Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) in close coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture Development. Each consultation included representatives from various government agencies, the private sector and development partners. In total about 120 representatives participated in the different consultations.
The consultation meetings presented the stakeholders with an overview of the strategy design process, analysis of the sector specifics, including production, international market dynamics, and markets requirements, among others.
It also initiated discussions on the major issues to be addressed as well as define core teams to work for the second phase of the strategy design process. The results of the in-depth participative diagnostic will serve to develop the national export strategies documents and to design detailed plan of actions for the next five years.
The consultation identified some key critical export constraints concerning supplies capacities and the business environment. They also discussed on market entry issues like non-tariff and para-tariff measures' barriers.
The discussions have helped build consensus around the opportunities and challenges of the private sector, as well as the public sector support services. "We have discussed at length our respective constraints to export large cardamom and identify new opportunities to develop our sector," said Nirmal Bhattarai from Large Cardamoms Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal during consultation in Birtamod. "We are looking forward the core team meeting to develop the plan of action with ITC assistance," he added.
Similarly, Mohan Khrishna Manandhar, President of the Nepal Handmade Paper Association, on the occasion, said the consultation had helped build momentum for concerted action. "The interactions between the various actors of the public and private sectors helped build agreement on common challenges and need for a national sector strategy to develop the handmade paper sector," he added.
The second initiative, the NTM Business Survey has interviewed over 350 Nepali exporters on the difficulties they face with regulatory and procedural obstacles to trade. Initial findings of the survey show that SPS/TBT requirements of destination markets and the related conformity assessment requirements like testing and certification are the main concerns of companies – especially those exporting agricultural products. Lack of adequate testing and certification facilities in Nepal has made exporting difficult for companies due to higher cost and additional time required for testing abroad, the participants noted. The NTM business survey will continue until August with a target of covering 600 companies. The survey results will feed into the SES development process.
The SES document will be a common principle document for public and private sector. Product specific market constraints related to export to India expressed during the consultations were been transmitted to the MoC to incorporate in the agenda of the recent bilateral meetings between Nepal and India at the secretary level," according to Mina Aryal, Focal Person and Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce.
The SES design process will produce a set of four endorsed, coherent and comprehensive documents that will serve as action-oriented blueprints for enhancing trade performance in each sector.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). The ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade (AfT) agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).