Nepal asks US to hold TIFA meeting soon
Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has asked the US authorities to hold the second joint council meeting of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) soon.
The bilateral trade agreement between the two countries aimed at promoting trade and investment held its first council meeting on April 17, 2011 in Washington, USA.
But the second meeting that was scheduled in Kathmandu has been postponed many a times. The last time, it was scheduled to be held in 2013 also could not happen due to US apathy, the ministry officials accused.
The ministry has sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative that is the US counterpart to fix the date, the officials said, adding that the second meeting planned to be held in Nepal has been postponed several times.
The invitation letter was sent to the USTR through Foreign ministry as a trade strategy has to be developed to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
Former ambassador to the United States Shankar Sharma said that the US government had shown a positive note to conduct the TIFA council meeting this year but Nepal did not show any concern due to lack of elected government.
The US is showing interest after the Constituent Assembly (CA) election, he added.
The main issue of the bilateral discussions would be on providing the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facility to Nepali products apart from providing support to Nepali exporters to promote their products in the US market.
Earlier, Nepal has asked the US government to provide preferential treatment to some 11 products, including pashmina and readymade garments, in the US. market. "But the US government is keen to provide technical assistance for other export potential items including carpets and handicrafts to which the US has also been providing the facility,” Sharma added.
The US is Nepal’s second largest export destination. In the fiscal year 2012-13, Nepal exported goods worth Rs 5.75 billion to the US. Nepal exports readymade garments, handicraft items, herbs, pashmina and woolen carpets to the US.