US starts implementing trade preference program for Nepal

Published On: December 17, 2016 12:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 17: The US has begun implementing preference program that provides duty-free treatment for dozens of imports from Nepal that meet specific eligibility criteria.

US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a proclamation to implement the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA), which creates a trade preference program for Nepal, according to a press release issued by the US Embassy in Kathmandu.

The TFTEA officially provides duty-free treatment for some 66 types of imports from Nepal that meet specific eligibility criteria, including certain types of carpets, headgear, shawls, scarves, and travel goods.

The Nepal Preference Program is authorized for ten years and designed to help Nepal's economic recovery from the earthquakes that struck the country in 2015, the release noted. "The program grants duty-free tariff benefits for certain Nepali exports not currently eligible for duty-free access to the US market."

It also authorizes a trade capacity building program, focused on helping Nepal implement the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

"The legislation provides a unique opportunity for Nepali businesses to expand their exports to US markets," US ambassador to Nepal, Alaina B Teplitz, said. "These trade preferences will provide some support, but ultimately Nepal's broader economic development will be achieved through policy reform that incentivizes investment, an improved business environment and labor reform that supports all sectors."

The products that have been granted the facility can be imported at zero tariff from Nepal.

Likewise, the products which have received preferential facility should have a minimum of 35 percent value addition.

In 2015, trade between Nepal and the US stood at $123 million. Nepal exported goods worth $87 million to the US last year. Of the total exports, Nepal enjoyed access to duty-free treatment for eligible products worth approximately $5.8 million under the GSP program.

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