Consultation meeting on Trade Policy Review heldNepal should formulate policy to address its trade potential and problems in order to benefit from the regulation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requiring member countries to increase the transparency and understanding of their trade policies and practices,
Nepal should formulate policy to address its trade potential and problems in order to benefit from the regulation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requiring member countries to increase the transparency and understanding of their trade policies and practices, said participants during a consultation workshop on Trade Policy Review (TPR) organised by the Ministry of Commerce on Monday.
Nepal has started the process of the second review of its trade policy as required by the WTO. The review has to be submitted to the secretariat of the multilateral organisation by the end of 2018.
Ricardo Barba, a member of the Trade Policy Review Division at the WTO, said policy formulation should be done in a way that benefits the country from trade in the future through the participation of a maximum number of stakeholders.
“As the WTO facilitates maintaining transparency among member countries, Nepal also has to focus on highlighting its interest areas in trade to convey the message accordingly in the international forum,” said Barba, presenting a paper at the programme.
As per Annex 3 of the Marrakesh Agreement of the WTO, each member nation needs to revisit its trade policy at specific intervals. As per the protocol, the least developed countries are required to review their trade policy every seven years.
As per the new provision, the US, China and the member countries of the European Union have to do so every three years while other developing countries have been given a timeframe of five years for the purpose.
This is the second time that Nepal is reviewing its trade policy after becoming the 147th member of the WTO in April 2004. Nepal conducted its first TPR in 2012.
Barba, a member of the WTO team currently in Nepal to prepare the Secretariat Report, said that they would mainly look at the economic environment, trade and investment regimes, trade policies and practices by measure and trade policies and practices by sector for the TPR. He added that the findings on the status of exports and imports, intellectual property and competitiveness in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, energy and service would be assessed for the TPR. “In addition, issues related to customs valuation, certificate of origin, customs policies and disputes related to trade will also be evaluated under a single basket.”
Joint secretary of the Commerce Ministry Toya Narayan Gyawali said the ministry had already started work on the TPR. “The government has given priority to wider reform in trade related policies and maintaining transparency in trade to ensure openness and competition among trading partner countries,” Gyawali said.
According to the ministry, it has formed a 16-member steering committee led by Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire. Representatives from the line ministries, a deputy governor of Nepal Rastra Bank and the executive director of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre are among the members of the steering committee.
In addition, a 10-member technical committee led by the joint secretary at the planning division of the ministry has been formed to conduct the TPR.