KATHMANDU, Nov 15: Sixteenth Handicraft Trade Fair and 14th Craft Competition, organized by the Federation of Handicraft Associations of Nepal (FHAN), kicked off at Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Inaugurating the event, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada stressed on the need to keep scientific record of handicraft export by both the private sector and the government.
"We are discussing to remove VAT from handicraft items that are being exported from Nepal," Khatiwada said, adding that the government was always keen on promoting Nepali handicraft in international market.
"We always support and encourage the private sector to take our creativity to the global market," he added.
Asking the federation to offer suggestions on preservation and promotion of the handicraft sector, the minister said the government was preparing to amend revenue laws to support Nepal's handicraft that represents the country's cultural heritage.
To reconstruct the heritage sites damaged by 2015 earthquake, he assured the federation that the government was preparing to establish a training center to produce skilled manpower for reconstruction work.
On the occasion, Lalitpur Metropolitan City was declared as a World Craft City. With this, Lalitpur has become the 35th World Craft City.
The event aims at enhancing the country's export through promotion of handicraft products. There are six pavilions and 200 stalls from 45 districts of Nepal, and 20 foreign stalls from India, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. The organizers are also giving away cash prize to the best pavilion and best stall. The 14th Craft Competition will be organized on the sidelines of the event. Winner of the competition will take home Rs 50,000, while the first and second runners-up will be richer by Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively.
Handicraft associations from all seven provinces, commodity associations, and the Poverty Alleviation Fund are also participating in the event. The trade fair will showcase pashmina products, woollen items, silver jewelry, metal statue and crafts, handmade paper, cotton and natural fiber, wooden craft, stone craft, ceramics, Thangka, leather products, and beads, among others.