October 12, 2017
In a move strengthening US-Nepal trade ties, the Government of United States has urged Nepal to make better utilization of the US trade facilitation program.
The US Ambassador to Nepal Aliana B Teplitz made a statement in this regard at a US-Nepal trade workshop held in Nepal, recently.
Nepal and US officials gathered for a workshop titled ‘Enhancing Nepal-US Trade by Utilizing Trade Preference Program’ jointly organized by Pavilion Group and the US Embassy in Nepal on October 10, 2017.
Addressing the gathering, Aliana said, “Clock is ticking for Nepali exporters and businesses to take advantage of the trade preference program offered by the US. The US-Nepal trade preference program creates an opportunity to expand the trade between the two countries. Nepali exporters and businesses have duty-free access only until 2025 to the US market for certain kinds of Nepali exports.”
She further stated that the special program under the Nepal Trade Preferences Act, which allows preferential treatment for certain exports from Nepal to the US, is a good opportunity for both the countries in strengthening economic ties.
In this regard, the US official said Nepal can increase its exports to US under the duty-free tariff facilitated by the trade preference program.
The program planned under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) allows new duty-free tariff benefits for certain Nepali exports to the US, which includes carpets, headgear, bags, scarves, shawls, travel goods and leather.
Through this program, the US government intends to support the Nepali economy for its recovery from the 2015 earthquake. It has been effective from December 30, 2016 and is active until 2025.
Out of the total exports worth USD 89 million Nepal sent to the US in 2016, USD 6.75 million was exported under the duty-free tariff.
“The market potential for the products is obviously much greater. We hope that the USD 6.75 million can be doubled, if not tripled or quadrupled in the near future,” Aliana added.
In response, the Nepali Minister for Industry Sunil Bahadur Thapa said, “All these products can be manufactured and exported to the US and we can fully utilize the facility provided to us by the US if we come out of the comfort zone.”
Arjun Kumar Karki, Nepali Ambassador to the US said, “The private sector should make investment in the production of these items so that they can be exported to the US. If we would be able to do better, we can request the US Government for additional privilege.”
On the occasion, Nepali exporters were also urged to try special ways to diversify and enhance their business as per the changing trends in foreign markets for full benefits.
“If more Nepali products are exported to the US, there would be high demand for these products, ‘Made in Nepal’ could be very powerful branding tool that you should take advantage of,” says Aliana.
Other experts, who had attended the workshop, opined that encouragement of production from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), R&D and boosting connectivity in the domestic market can help Nepal in generating long-term business across foreign markets.