Thapa: China visit will create economic frameworkDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said that his China visit beginning Wednesday would be helpful in creating a long-term economic framework with the northern neighbour.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said that his China visit beginning Wednesday would be helpful in creating a long-term economic framework with the northern neighbour.
He said the framework would include trade diversification by opening more trading routes with the northern neighbour, signing trade and transit pact with China, fuel business, Chinese investment in infrastructure and tourism. He, however, was quick to add that this approach should not be seen as Nepal’s reaction to the “blockage” from India.
Talking to some reporters at the Foreign Ministry on the eve of his visit, DPM Thapa said Nepal needs to tap the opportunities coming from the world’s second largest economy. He said the crisis facing Nepal would be discussed with Chinese leaders and officials.
In Beijing, the Nepali side will seek subsidies in tax and transportation cost so that Nepal can import fuel from China on a regular basis. In a commercial deal, China would need to exempt up to Rs25 billion in taxes and surcharges. Since the Rs14 billion annual Chinese grant to Nepal is not enough to compensate for the imbalance, Nepal is exploring the alternatives, he said.
The presence of Law Minister Agni Kharel in the Nepali delegation to China has raised the prospects of signing a bilateral trade and transit pact. Nepal and China are also discussing free trade agreement.
“Nepal should evolve as a bridge between our two giant economies. Time has come to materialise the concept of trilateral cooperation between India, China and Nepal,” said Thapa. For this, more border crossings—at least one in each development region—would be opened. Seeking Chinese assistance for east-west railway is also on the agenda. “I’m going there to extend political as well as systematic guarantee to the Chinese side,” he said, adding that he was not confident about signing a commercial fuel import deal during his visit.
Security and other matters concerning India and China should be cleared, he said. “We need to assure the Chinese and Indian sides that Nepal will secure their long-term interests.”
PM urged to open Korala border pass
KATHMANDU: A group of political leaders, Members of Parliament and leaders from Province 4 have urged Prime Minister KP Oli to open the Korala border point with China in Mustang district.
Out of the nine border crossings with China, Korala is among three that are connected by road. The Parliamentary Development Committee that recently surveyed the route had suggested that Korala could be used for bilateral trade by setting up necessary customs infrastructure on both sides.
“Upgrading the road to Korala could be helpful in expediting bilateral trade,” said Committee Chairman Rabindra Adhikari, adding that his team has already emailed a preliminary report to the Prime Minister’s Office. “I have urged the prime minister to open it immediately,” said Adhikari.
Despite having road connectivity, the border has not been open for the last six to seven years after the Chinese side put up a wire fence to stop cross-border movement of goods and people.