Nepal prepares wishlist for transit treaty talks with IndiaNepali and Indian officials are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on March 18 to review the bilateral Treaty of Transit in a bid to ease Nepal’s third country trade through Indian territory.
Nepali and Indian officials are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on March 18 to review the bilateral Treaty of Transit in a bid to ease Nepal’s third country trade through Indian territory.
Being a landlocked country, Nepal relies heavily on India to conduct trade with third countries. Persistent transit related problems like delays in cargo movement, high freight charges, slow customs clearance and hurdles in shipment of bulk cargos, among others, make life difficult for Nepali traders.
The upcoming review meeting will discuss amendments to the Treaty of Transit to streamline trade. The Nepal-India Intergovernmental Committee, a mechanism to solve trade-related issues between the two countries, will finalise the proposed amendments.
Rabi Shankar Sainju, joint secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, will be leading the Nepali delegation to the two-day bilateral talks in the Indian capital.
Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, secretary of the ministry, said the meeting would mainly formalise the agreements made through the Letter of Exchange between the two countries. According to him, the meeting will conclude transit related issues such as the electronic cargo tracking system, inland waterways and bulk cargo movement, among others. “The results of the meeting will be sent to the Nepal-India Intergovernmental Committee to be signed at its next meeting,” said Adhikari.
Nepal has implemented electronic cargo tracking and transshipment privileges on cargo shipped from Kolkata and Haldiya ports from mid-February, and on cargo shipped from Vishakhapatnam port from August. The transshipment privileges are expected to ensure safe and secure transit and simplified border formalities which could reduce transit time and transaction costs besides improving shipment visibility.
Nepal and India are looking forward to using inland waterways to transport cargo from Indian ports to the Nepali border. India will soon be launching inland waterways in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, and it has expressed readiness to extend the routes up to the Nepal border along the Narayani River. India has started building infrastructure to develop inland waterways from Kolkata to Varanasi along the Ganga River.
The ministry source said that an Indian technical team would be meeting officials of the Water and Energy Commission on March 7-8 in Kathmandu, the outcomes of which will also be given final shape during the transit treaty review meeting.
In addition, Nepal will be asking the Indian government to allow the shipment of bulk cargo to other Nepal-India customs points too. Bulk cargo includes fertiliser, sugar, soybean, salt, oil cake and raw plastic materials. Bulk cargo imported from third countries through Kolkata, Haldiya and Vishakhapatnam ports are currently transported only to the Birgunj border point in Nepal.
Using additional sea ports in India and developing infrastructure at the customs points of the two counties will also be discussed at the New Delhi meeting, as per the ministry source. India has responded positively to
The southern neighbour has also expressed its consent to allow Nepal to use two additional sea ports at Dhamra, Orissa and Mundra, Gujarat. Nepal has been seeking to use these ports as alternatives to Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam.