Nepal has long been requesting China to consider the list of 512 tradable Nepali goods for import under the duty-free, quota-free privilege. Nepal’s main exportable goods missing in the new list
KATHMANDU, Oct 2: Though China has time and again been saying that it stands ready to facilitate the export of Nepali goods to China, Nepali exporters have failed to benefit from this Chinese pledge due to the “stringent policies” imposed by the northern neighbor.
Despite receiving repeated assurance from the Chinese authorities, Nepali goods have been facing hurdles when it comes to exporting them to China via land routes for the past few years. In addition, China has not paid any heed to revise the Nepali products under its duty-free pledge despite repeated requests made by its landlocked neighbor.
China has been providing duty-free, quota-free market access to 8,030 Nepali goods. They include cooking utensils, outfits, footwear, toothpaste and brush, beauty products and toiletry, printing paper, buttons made of animal bone, animal products, medicinal oil and products, pen, daily goods made of feather and plastic products, among others.
However, Nepal has failed to benefit from the offer made by China, as Nepal does not have comparative advantage in most of the goods in this long list. So, instead, Nepal has long been requesting China to allow the export of 512 specified goods under the duty free, quota-free provision. During Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit to China in 2018, too, Nepal made a request to the Chinese government to grant an enhanced level of market access for these 512 tradable products.
Rabi Shankar Sainju, former joint-secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS), said Nepal has long been requesting the northern neighbor to allow access to new products listed under the six-digit HS code that incorporates the Nepali goods with high comparative advantage.
The bilateral talks that were held on last Tuesday also ended up with similar assurances, one of which includes hassles-free movement of traded goods through the Tatopani-Khasa and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung entry points. In addition, the Chinese side consented to another list of 188 Nepali goods as the main tradable goods of Nepal to China, on the condition that these goods have labeling in the Chinese language which Nepali traders say is not feasible.
The consented goods include edibles, meat items and a number of plant products that are supposed to get special consideration for entry into the Chinese market. “However, these products will not be receiving the duty-free access,” an official of the MoICS told Republica on condition of anonymity.
According to a source, the Nepali side also did not raise concerns over the previous list of 512 Nepali tradable products in Tuesday’s meeting.
Bachchu Poudel, president of Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association, said several critical issues related to bilateral trade hang in the balance due to the failure of the Nepali side to strongly lobby for its interests.