November 02, 2017
With an aim to boost the Nepal-Austria bilateral ties, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 31, 2017.
FNCCI President Bhawani Rana and AFEC Vice-President Richard Schenz signed the pact on behalf of both the nations and the two sides have also agreed to review the Nepal-Austria agreement formed in 1993.
The new collaboration will focus on enhancing private sector collaboration for promoting trade, commerce and technology transfer between the two countries.
“As the government has adopted a policy to create an investment-friendly environment, this agreement can benefit both countries through the exchange of knowledge, skills and technology,” said the Nepali Industry Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa.
On the occasion, the Minister also sought Austrian investment in Nepal.
Infrastructure Development Discussed
Meanwhile, Nepal’s Industry Secretary Yam Kumari Khatiwada informed that Nepal has declared tourism and infrastructure development as priority areas to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment in these sectors.
Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Executive Committee Member of FNCCI, opined that the agreement would benefit Nepal by providing needed assistance from Austria in transportation and hydropower sectors.
Gyanendra also sought bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector to minimize the tourism costs through effective infrastructure development.
In response, Austrian Ambassador to Nepal Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer informed about Austrian entrepreneurs’ willingness towards investing in Nepal.
“The bilateral ties could help bolster the relationship in economic areas in the coming days,” she added.
Nepal-Austria Trade on The Rise
Nepal and Austria have been enjoying cordial trade relations majorly in the areas of infrastructure development, hydropower, drinking water supply, eco-tourism development and conservation of ancient temples.
Patan Museum, Rolwaling eco-tourism, Garden of Dreams at Keshar Mahal of Kathmandu and Namche Small Hydroelectric Project are some of the notable Nepali projects completed in collaboration with Austria.
Nepal’s trade with Austria has been growing in the recent years.
According to the official data of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal-Austria trade has grown two-fold from Rs 364.15 million to Rs 645.47 million during the 2012-16 period.
Nepal’s exports to Austria majorly include woolen carpets, paper and paper products, handicrafts, readymade garments, jewelry and silverware.
Whereas, machinery and parts and communication equipment form Nepal’s major imports from Austria.