Govt devising protocolThe Ministry of Commerce is developing a protocol on the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) signed between Nepal and China during Prime Min-ister KP Oli’s Beijing visit.
The Ministry of Commerce is developing a protocol on the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) signed between Nepal and China during Prime Min-ister KP Oli’s Beijing visit.
Currently, Nepal conduct trade with countries other than India through the southern neighbour as transit. Although Nepal and Bangladesh have also signed a transit agreement, Nepal has yet to use the facility. China has agreed to allow Nepal to use its territory for international trade for the first time.
TTA is just a framework and is incomplete without a protocol as details of the operation of the transit system are written in the protocol.
The ministry is preparing a time bound action plan to develop the protocol and implement it, according to Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyaya.
“We are about to complete the first draft of the action plan and have held first round of discussions with officials from the Chinese Embassy,” he said. “The embassy officials have informed us that a technical team from China will visit Nepal soon for detailed discussions.”
After the arrival of the Chinese team, a joint technical team representing both the countries will be formed, which will develop the protocol including details of transport and transit. Upadhaya said the joint technical team will include representatives from Commerce, Foreign, Finance and Law Ministries from Nepal.
The first job of the team will be identifying feasible ports in China. “It will also decide about custom arrangement, mode of transport, types of cargos and operational modality to be included in the protocol,” said Upadhaya. “Finally, the feasible transit routes will be identified.”
The Foreign Ministry had asked the Commerce Ministry to make all necessary preparations for devising of the protocol so that it could be implemented within the next six months. But officials at the Commerce Ministry are confident it can be done well within six months.
According to experts, an efficient transport network and simplified paperwork and information system will be essential to make practical use of the transit facility and such things must be included in the protocol. “The freedom of transit right available to landlocked states under the United Nation Convention on Laws of the Sea - 1982 can only be fully exercised through bilateral agreements signed by landlocked states.
Thus Nepal will be able to assert its freedom of transit to China under the TTA,” said Lawyer Semanta Dahal. “But Nepal can only benefit from such an agreement only after an effective protocol is enabled.”