Finance Secy-level meet after BRICS, China hintsThe postponed Nepal-China Finance Secretary-level meeting may take place after the BRICS Summit takes place in Goa, India, on October 15-16, government officials said.
The postponed Nepal-China Finance Secretary-level meeting may take place after the BRICS Summit takes place in Goa, India, on October 15-16, government officials said.
The meeting scheduled to be held on August 24 in Kathmandu was postponed indefinitely after the Chinese side expressed its inability to attend the event citing other “important engagements”.
“The Chinese side has indicated that the meeting could be held after the BRICS Summit,” said Baikuntha Aryal, chief of the international economic cooperation coordination division at the Finance Ministry, referring to the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. “However, the exact date has not been finalised.”
The Nepal-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETC) is the bilateral mechanism formed to promote economic cooperation between the two
Holding the meetings led by the finance secretaries and foreign secretaries of the two countries will be crucial in view of the possible visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal in the near future. Both the meetings were postponed in the wake of the regime change in Nepal.
According to Finance Ministry officials, the two sides will discuss the progress made in implementing the agreement on economic cooperation reached during former prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to Beijing in March.
However, Jhabindra Aryal, joint-secretary at the Foreign Ministry, clarified that the Finance Secretary-level consultation would not be a follow-up meeting to PM Oli’s visit but discussion would be held on implementation of the agreements related to economic cooperation. “The Foreign Secretary-level meeting, a follow-up session, has also been postponed,” he said.
At the meeting of the finance secretaries, the two sides are expected to sign an agreement on the Chinese grant assistance of $480 million (Rs51.3 billion) for post-earthquake reconstruction.
Both the sides have finalised 25 areas where the Chinese assistance would be utilised but they have not yet signed an agreement for
utilisation of the aid.
Among the areas where the Chinese assistance would be utilised are building schools and hospitals in Sindhupalchok district, schools and houses in Rasuwa district and repairing the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Conducting a feasibility study for Araniko Highway expansion and Rasuwagadhi-Syaphrubesi Road, capacity-building of the Home Ministry to tackle future earthquakes, reconstruction of Swoyambhunath, renovation of the Nuwakot Palace, rebuilding damaged hospitals in Nuwakot, expanding the Civil Service Hospital, providing medical equipment and imparting training are
other areas of the Chinese assistance.
“There has been discussion about seeking Chinese assistance for additional projects as well,” said a Finance Ministry official. At the Beijing meeting of the JETC held in 2014, both the sides had signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt under the framework of the Nepal-China Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation.