BIRATNAGAR, Jan 15: Country's foreign trade through the Eastern Development Region faltered in Fiscal Year 2016/17.
The overall foreign trade through the region suffered due to the decline in both import and export figures. Comparatively, export and import figures of the region in 2016/17 were lower than the figure of a year earlier.
In FY 2016/17, country's foreign trade though the eastern region declined to Rs 173.53 billion. Tarai protest and India's economic blockade contributed in the decline, according to government officials.
Statistics of Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), Biratnagar, shows that goods worth Rs 26.29 billion were exported from eastern region in FY 2016/17. In FY 2015/16, Nepal had exported goods worth Rs 26.76 billion through the eastern region.
Similarly, goods worth Rs 147.23 billion were imported to Nepal through the region in FY 2016/17, compared to Rs 149.20 billion in FY 2015/16.
Textiles, iron and steels, black cardamom and tea were country's top imports through the region in FY 2016/17. Nepal imported textiles worth Rs 5.47 billion through the region in FY 2016/17. Similarly, Rs 4.18 billion worth of iron and steels, Rs 3.86 billion worth of black cardamom, and Rs 2.29 billion worth of tea were exported through the region during the review year. Other notable exports from the region in FY 2016/17 were jute products, ginger, red lentils and cinnamon.
Petroleum product was the country's largest import from the eastern region in 2016/17. Nepal imported Rs 27.10 billion worth of petroleum products from eastern region during the review year. Other top imports in FY 2016/17 were iron and steels products (Rs 21.46 billion), beans (Rs 9.60 billion), plastic products (Rs 9.40 billion), and machineries (Rs 7.88 billion). Likewise, edible oil (Rs 4.70 billion), electrical goods (Rs 3.72 billion), spinach (Rs 2.68 billion), threads (Rs 3.72 billion), textile fiber (Rs 2.68 billion), clinker (Rs 1.42 billion) and cotton (Rs 1.37 billion) were other notable imports from the region in FY 2016/17.
Eastern region has been facing trade deficit for the past many years because the region is dependent on imports even for agro produce. The region suffered trade deficit of Rs 120.93 billion in FY 2016/17, compared to Rs 82.29 billion three years ago.