KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Nepal’s private sector has urged the Chinese authorities to facilitate opening a Chinese bank in Nepal, which is expected to boost up the economic relationship between the two countries.
Speaking at the Nepal China Business Summit organized on the sidelines of the official visit of Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal to China, the private sector stakeholders have put forth their view before the Chinese stakeholders. “Such a strategic move would significantly facilitate and enhance bilateral trade and investment activities between our two countries,” said Chandra Prasad Dhakal, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).
As of now, Nepal and China have failed to set the banking network between two countries despite having a growing scope for bilateral economic cooperation including trade. “As there are no Chinese banks operating in Nepal, we strongly recommend that a Chinese bank consider forging partnership with Nepali banks or establishing its own operations in Nepal,” Dhakal said.
Nepal and China have been close neighbors for centuries, and in recent years, our economic ties have grown significantly. China has become one of Nepal's largest sources of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Nepal enjoys non-reciprocal and exclusive treaties with India, providing duty-free access to Nepalese products in India. Similarly, Nepalese products have duty-free access to China, as well as to the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, and other developed countries. This opens up opportunities for investment and production in Nepal with the potential for global exports.
China is Nepal's second-largest trading partner. While Nepal purchases 16 percent of total imported goods from China, the exports to China stand modest.
According to Dhakal, Nepal has proven to be a trusted destination for Chinese investment, accounting for over 35 percent of the total approved foreign direct investments in the landlocked country. "Multinational companies operating in Nepal have been enjoying a favorable rate of return on their investments,” he said.
Nepal is committed to further opening up to foreign investment, technology transfer, public-private partnerships, and investment-related policies to attract both global and regional FDIs. Dhakal expressed his hope that the FDI inflows from China will boost in future.
FNCCI President Dhakal also urged the Chinese authorities to operate direct flights from China to Nepal’s newly constructed international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara. He sought China’s collaboration in e-commerce, digital payment, logistics services, distance learning and tourism infrastructure including cable cars, theme parks, and resorts apart from hydropower, tourism, and manufacturing, the ICT sector and ICT-enabled services.
Meanwhile, the representatives from FNCCI and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) held bilateral meetings to implement joint projects along with the facilitation of investment and trade between the two countries. FNCCI President Dhakal, Immediate Past President Shekhar Golchha, Senior Vice-president Anjan Shrestha and executive committee members Shova Gyawali and Manoj Poudel were among those who attended the bilateral discussion, reads a statement issued by FNCCI.