KATHMANDU, July 14: The government has decided to allow the import of restricted commodities that were already under the process of imports before a notice on the ban was issued last month.
Issuing a notice on the Nepal Gazette on Wednesday, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has said that the import restriction will not be applied for those commodities that had already initiated the process of import.
Earlier on June 17, the ministry had issued a notice imposing restriction on the imports of a number of commodities including soft drinks.
Following the notice, the customs offices across the country had stopped consignments of those restricted goods from entering into the country.
The halt at the customs offices caused a long queue of containers laden with the restricted commodities. Importers have since been lobbying with the government for the entry of those goods.
The importers and local industrialists said the sudden ban caused a huge loss for them as they had already started the process of imports of those restricted commodities.
According to the new notice, the import restriction will not become applicable for those commodities which were in the process of import or export like opening of the letter of credit (LC) in a bank.
Through the notice on June 17, the government imposed complete and quantitative restrictions on the import and export of a number of commodities. Similarly, it has also introduced certain conditions for the export and import of specific commodities.
According to the officials, the restrictions were aimed at addressing the widening trade deficit of the country on ballooning imports without much growth of exports. The government's move to impose restrictions comes in the wake of growing calls to come up with measures to combat the trade deficit widening at an alarming rate that is also threatening the external sector position of the country.
While the restricted export list includes forest products like Saal timber and Paachaule, quantitative restrictions have been imposed on the exports of paddy, rice, wheat and sugar, among other commodities.
While the restriction is less likely to affect the trade or supply in the country, the ban on the import of energy and soft drinks have raised concerns among the importers who had already placed the order or started import process of such commodities.
“We have demanded that those restricted import items which were in the process of import before the new rule came into effect should be allowed for safe passage,” said Kamalesh Agrawal, general secretary of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce. “The government has fulfilled our demands, providing relief to those importers who were worried that the new ban will cause them financial losses.”