Int'l Trade Fair: Nepali exhibitors complain about hassles at customsNepali traders participating in the ongoing International Trade Fair in New Delhi said they faced hurdles at Indian customs while clearing their products for the exhibition.
Published at : November 24, 2018
Updated at : November 24, 2018 10:43
Nepali traders participating in the ongoing International Trade Fair in New Delhi said they faced hurdles at Indian customs while clearing their products for the exhibition.
Since Nepal has been participating in the expo as a focus country, the treatment is unfortunate, the exhibitors said. This could affect future participation even though Nepali products are a major attraction, they added.
Around 800 companies from different Indian states and 15 countries are participating in the two-week event that opened November 14. Nepal is represented at the exhibition by 10 firms who have showcased handicraft and pashmina products. The Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) in Kathmandu selected the exhibitors and is bearing the expenses for the pavilion.
Sita Kushbaha of Everest Traders faced difficulties at Indian customs, and goods valued at Rs600,000 are stranded at the Banbasa border crossing. She contacted the Nepal Embassy in New Delhi and the TEPC asking them to facilitate the clearance of her goods.
“The Nepal Embassy wrote a letter, but Indian customs ignored it,” she said. The letter from the TEPC had no effect too. “The event will conclude after four days. Even if I bring my goods here, it will be difficult to find buyers. What is the point in inviting us to the fair if we are going to be treated this way at the customs office?” she said.
Ganesh Kumar Lohani, owner of New Gaurav Traders who was expecting to promote and expand his business in India, is also disappointed with the treatment he received at customs. “They ignored the letter from the Nepal government and asked for a lab test report for the pashmina products,” he said.
Lohani, who has participated in five dozen trade fairs in India, said he always had problems at customs. “This is the situation when you are participating in a trade fair,” said Lohani.
“Imagine the difficulty when you are actually trading with India.” Lohani decided to travel via Sunauli after his fellow exhibitors said they could not clear their goods through Mahendranagar customs.
Many Nepali traders participating in the event faced similar problems. Bharat Kumar Regmi, acting Nepali ambassador to India, said the embassy was trying to solve the problem. “As the TEPC is the authority coordinating the participation of traders, our job is only to facilitate,” he said.
India is Nepal’s largest trading partner, but exporters sometimes face similar problems at Indian customs. They say their goods are denied clearance by imposing non-tariff barriers like sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Nepali products have been getting wide attention from visitors, and Nepali pavilions showcasing handicraft and pashmina products are key attractions at trade fairs.