NP Saud and US Secretary Blinken hold talks about US providing Rs 16.5 billion loan to Nepal for SME development

Published On: October 31, 2023 02:45 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 31: Foreign Minister NP Saud, who is currently on a week-long visit to the US, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have held discussions about the United States providing a loan of more than Rs 16.5 billion to support the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nepal.

Following the bilateral meeting, the statement issued by the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Matthew Miller, emphasized the strengthening of the Nepal-US partnership.

"The discussion covered the implementation of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) project, which includes a recently launched $500 million grant aid for building infrastructure, enhancing access to electricity, and promoting cross-border electricity trade," the statement said. "Both sides also addressed the investment of the Expanded Development Finance Corporation in Nepal, particularly focusing on support for small and medium enterprises. Additional discussions included the provision of $125 million in new loans to Nepali banks for the purpose of extending loans to enterprises."

During the meeting, US Secretary of State Blinken also praised the partnership of "American Peace Corps Volunteers" for more than 60 years. Blinken praised Nepal's effort in strengthening its democratic governance and expressed US’s desire to see Nepal as a strong and prosperous democracy.

In the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral relations between Nepal and the US and pledged to expand and renew cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

According to the Embassy of Nepal in Washington DC, Foreign Minister Saud mentioned about Nepal's development priorities after being upgraded from a least developed country. He called for more support from the US in areas such as trade and investment, market access, food security and information technology.

In a statement issued by the embassy, Foreign Minister Saud has requested the US to re-certify and expand Nepal Trade Preference Program (NTPP) and Generalized System of Preferences facilities by including new exportable items for Nepal.

Likewise, Minister Saud thanked the US government for its continuous support in the socio-economic development of Nepal, including the USAID and the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC). In the statement of the Embassy, it is mentioned that both sides emphasized the importance of timely implementation of projects under the MCC.


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