KATHMANDU, April 8: Nepal has requested China to grant preferential treatment to Nepal’s primary products in bilateral trade to address the widening trade deficit with its northern neighbor.
During the 15th meeting of the Bilateral Diplomatic Consultation Mechanism between the foreign ministries of Nepal and the People’s Republic of China held in Beijing on Friday, Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal, who is leading the Nepali delegation, proposed for the preferential treatment of Nepal’s primary products such as tea, coffee, herbal products, cooked buffalo meat, and other agricultural products.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Chinese side agreed to encourage Chinese investors to make investments in mutually beneficial areas. This is expected to further bolster the bilateral relations and also help to reduce trade deficit with the increase of Nepal’s export potentials.
Foreign Secretary Paudyal and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Sun Weidong led their respective delegations during the meeting. Foreign Secretary Paudyal appreciated the decision of the Chinese government to enlist Nepal as one of the outbound destination countries for group tourism.
Both sides took stock of the existing Nepal-China bilateral relations and cooperation and deliberated on the ways to further expanding and consolidating cooperation in various areas, including the exchange of bilateral visits; economic cooperation; promotion of trade, investment and tourism; building connectivity; and strengthening cooperation in the fields of agriculture, education, culture and people-to-people relations, among others, according to a press statement issued by the MoFA.
The two sides discussed promoting people to people contacts and cultural cooperation, increasing the number of scholarships to Nepali students and professionals, capacity development of technical experts, among others. The meeting also reviewed the progress of different infrastructure development projects under China’s grant assistance as well as Chinese-contracted projects and agreed to expedite the implementation of the projects so as to complete them in time.
According to the MoFA statement, Chinese Vice Minister Sun admired Nepal’s consistent adherence to One China Policy and respect for the five principles of peaceful coexistence. Foreign Secretary Paudyal appreciated the Chinese policy of non-interference and respect for Nepal’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.
The two sides reviewed the cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral forums, including in the United Nations, and exchange of mutual support to each other’s candidatures. They also discussed the importance of implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the usefulness of the GDI to promote the SDG agenda.
Foreign Secretary Paudyal was accompanied by Nepal’s Ambassador to China Bishnu Pukar Shrestha, Joint Secretary at the MoFA Lok Bahadur Thapa and other officials at the Ministry and Embassy of Nepal in Beijing. Likewise, the Chinese delegation comprised senior officials of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.