KATHMANDU, Nov 10: The Treaty of Commerce with India has been automatically renewed. Although Nepal had been calling for renewing the treaty with amendments for a long time, ultimately it was automatically renewed without any amendment.
Joint-secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Ram Chandra Tiwari, said the commerce treaty with India has been automatically renewed in accordance with the provision stipulating that the treaty has to be renewed every seven years.
"Although the topic of amending and revising the treaty had been raised, it could not be addressed this time. However, it can be amended in between. We are preparing for the Commerce Secretary level meeting of the two countries and this issue can also be raised at that time," Joint-Secretary Tiwari said.
Stating that the Transit Treaty between Nepal and India had been amended, he said the Treaty of Commerce could also be amended in the middle in keeping with this concept.
The Treaty of Commerce which was inked in 1978 was last amended in October 2016. The treaty is renewed every seven years and it was not amended last time as well. It drew criticism from the trade and commerce experts and business community at that time also after the treaty was renewed without any amendment.
India is Nepal's largest trade partner and Nepal has a huge trade deficit with India. The topic of amending the commerce treaty had been raised for a long time to address this trade deficit problem.
Former Commerce Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire said that Nepal is facing various problems in the foreign trade sector as this treaty remains to be amended or revised for a long time.
Ghimire said Nepal had initiated the process for amending the treaty in 2018, but it was stopped in the middle, and the treaty has been automatically renewed this time also without any amendments, which is not in Nepal's interest.
"Nepal should have opted for a new treaty, concluding the negotiations with India at the earliest. This not happening is not in our national interest," the former Commerce Secretary said, adding that the talks between all bilateral mechanisms have been on hold for the last one or two years.
According to him, the talks should not have been put on hold like this and it shows that we are not ourselves aware of this.