The country suffered trade deficit of Rs 398.52 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year 2013-14, up by 17.8 per cent compared to the same period in the last fiscal year, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC).

The country imported merchandise worth Rs 459.5 billion, whereas merchandise worth Rs 60.98 billion – a rise of 20.3 per cent compared to the same period of last fiscal year – the data revealed.

As usual, petroleum products topped the import list followed by iron and steel products, automobile and auto parts, telecommunication and electronic equipments, and gold. “The country imported petroleum products worth Rs 87.88 billion,” it said, adding that the total export receipt is not enough to pay petroleum import bill. “Iron and steel products worth Rs 40 billion, automobiles, auto parts worth Rs 26.61 billion gold worth Rs 17.08 billion are some of the largest imports. However, the country’s export increased due to strong performance of metals like iron and steel products, commodities like woolen carpet, yarns, textiles, and readymade garments (RMGs).”

Readymade garments witnessed an increase in export by 52.8 per cent to Rs 3.62 billion, whereas iron and steel products worth Rs 8.36 billion was also exported.

India – as usual – remained the country’s largest trading partner as imports from India stood at Rs 306.31 billion, but exports to India stood at Rs 40.48 billion only.

Similarly, the data also revealed the exports of priority export items – in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) like cardamom, essential oil, honey, handmade paper, noodles, tea and woolen products – improved in the eight-month period compared to last fiscal year. “However, export of silver jewelry, ginger, lentils, medicinal herbs fell by 68 per cent, 65 per cent, 43.8 per cent and 18.7 per cent, respectively.”

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