KATHMANDU, July 6: The government has decided to send a nine-member delegation led by secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies to China hold talks with the Chinese side for signing the protocol of the Trade and Transit Treaty.
The delegation is being sent to China with the authority to sign the treaty on behalf of the Government of Nepal, according to Information Minister Gokul Baskota, who is also the government’s spokesperson.
A cabinet meeting held at Baluwatar on Wednesday night made the decision to the effect. The team will fly to China next week.
Last week, briefing parliament right after his official visit to China, Prime Minister KP Oli said that an understanding had been reached between Nepal and China to ink a trade and transit treaty protocol July this year.
Oli had said the agreement couldn’t be reached during his visit as discussions on a few issues were not concluded. “Discussions on a few issues of the protocol are yet to conclude. I want to assure the parliament that it will be prepared and signed next month (July),” Oli had said.
He was criticized in parliament for not signing the protocol of the Trade and Transit Treaty, which gives Nepal access to sea in China, during his China visit.
In 2016, during his first stint as prime minister, Oli had signed a historic trade and transit treaty with China, with the aim to break Nepal’s dependency on India.
However, as the protocol for the treaty has not been signed yet, the treaty is not yet implemented.
If Nepal and China sign the protocol of the treaty, Nepal can formally use Chinese ports for its third country trade, which is expected to reduce Nepal’s near total dependency on India for trade and transit.