Govt, donors hold meetingThe 16th donor group meeting on Aid for Trade (AfT) has reviewed the implementation of the action matrix of the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2016.
The 16th donor group meeting on Aid for Trade (AfT) has reviewed the implementation of the action matrix of the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2016.
Aid for trade is an initiative under which developing countries receive assistance to increase exports of goods and services, integrate in the multilateral trading system, and benefit from liberalised trade and increased market access.
The Aid for Trade (AfT) initiative was launched during the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held in Hong Kong in December 2005. The major focus of the AfT initiative has been to address the supply-side constraints facing developing countries in general and the least-developed countries in particular, especially development of economic infrastructure and building productive capacity.
The donor group meeting on AfT was organised by the Ministry of Commerce in presence of representatives from various development organisations. The ministry has been organising these meetings at regular intervals within the broader framework of Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) at the WTO.
The government’s Trade Policy 2015 has prioritised supply-side capacity building, increasing production and productivity, trade in services, protection and promotion of intellectual property
rights, trade mainstreaming, aid for trade, and corporate social responsibility as mechanism to boost trade in the country.
In this regard, the government has launched Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2016, which seeks to address the outstanding trade and competitiveness challenges confronted by the country’s export sector. NTIS 2016 focuses on actions to address constraints on the seven broadly grouped cross-cutting sectors and 12 priority export potential sectors by 2020, which included nine products, including cardamom, ginger, tea, medicinal and aromatic plants, fabrics and textiles, leather, footwear, chyangara pashmina and knotted carpets as well as three services, such as IT and business process outsourcing, tourism, and skilled and semi-skilled professional services.
The NTIS 2016 has identified 190 actions to be implemented by 2020 with clear roles, responsibilities along with quantitative indicators to measure its success. It has clearly outlined its focus on supply capacity through increased production and productivity; product and value chain development; development of trade-related infrastructure to address the bottlenecks of supply-side constraints and enhanced market access in terms of both technical and institutional capacity building.
During the meeting, Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhayay urged development partners to prioritise their support in four key areas: product development; trade-related infrastructure development; trade facilitation and market promotion for the trade-led sustainable and inclusive economic growth, including gender empowerment; and poverty reduction.
The outgoing EIF Nepal Donor Facilitator and Deputy Chief of Mission of German Embassy in Kathmandu Jacqueline Groth underscored the importance of coordination among various line ministries and the private sectors to mainstream trade in sectoral polices and plans.
The new EIF Nepal Donor Facilitator and Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Nepal Andreas Roettger, on the other hand, remarked that the EU was one of the largest trading partners in the world and the EU sees trade and investment as very important vehicles for inclusive development as outlined in its “Trade for All” strategy.
In 2016 Nepal exported goods worth 90 million to the EU, making it Nepal’s second largest export market after India. The ‘Everything But Arms’ initiative, allows duty and quota free access for all kind of products with the exception of weapons and ammunition.