Nepal-India IGC meet slated for June 28-29Nepal and India are scheduled to hold the commerce secretary-level Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting in New Delhi on June28-29.
Nepal and India are scheduled to hold the commerce secretary-level Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting in New Delhi on June28-29.
The meeting is likely to discuss facilitating banking and insurance and minimising non-tariff barriers.
Sources at both the Commerce Ministry and Indian Embassy confirmed the date for the meeting. They said easing cross-border banking and insurance services for traders will be the new agenda. “Besides, the meeting will also take forward the issues that had remained pending at the last IGC meeting,” said the embassy source.
According to officials at the Commerce Ministry, Nepal will ask the Indian
government to waive the countervailing duty on garment and copper utensils and refund additional duties that are refundable but have not been reimbursed.
“We have discussed with the private sector on some major issues, which we will put forth at the meeting. However, the final agendas have yet to be fixed,” said the ministry source.
The ministry source said issues like easing quarantine procedures on export of
agricultural goods, finalising the transhipment modality in customs clearance and early construction of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) in Nepal, among others, will also be on the agenda.
The meeting last took place on December 21-22, 2013, in Kathmandu. At the meeting, India had agreed in principle to implement the transhipment modality and construction of the ICPs. The southern neighbour had also agreed to expedite the Kolkata/Haldiya-Jogbani-Biratnagar and Kolkata/Haldiya-Nautanwa/Sunauli-Bhairahawa rail routes for bulk cargo.
India had also agreed to minimise non-tariff barriers on import of Nepali herbal products. However, little progress has been made on this front.
Nepal and India signed an accord in 2005 to build ICPs on either side of the Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj border points. Under the agreement, matching complexes facilitating immigration, customs, border security, quarantine facilities, currency exchange counter, internet service and cafeteria through integrated mechanism will be carry out on both sides of the border.
The Indian government had pledged to build the ICPs on the Nepal side too.
Recently, India inaugurated its ICP at Raxaul, but the corresponding facility on the Nepali side has not been completed. Those at Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Birgunj are yet to be constructed.
According to the ministry, Nepal will also raise issue of bringing the Vishakhapatnam port into operation. During Prime Minister KP Oli’s visit to New Delhi last February, India had agreed to let Nepal use the port. However, importers have failed to use the port for third-country trade due to the lack of infrastructure for customs clearance.
Nepal and India have agreed to conduct the commerce secretary-level talk every year. However, the meeting delayed by almost two and half years due to last year’s earthquake and Tarai agitation.