The first session of the Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Nepal was held at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva on Tuesday.
As provided in the Agreement Establishing the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (Annex 3 of the Marrakesh Agreement), all WTO Members are subject to review under the TPRM at varying internals of time.
Nepal, as an LDC, is entitled to be reviewed at a period longer than 6 years. Since its accession to the WTO in 2004, this is the first ever TPR of Nepal.
In an introductory statement to the Trade Policy Review Body, Lal Mani Joshi, Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, reinforced Nepal’s deep faith in the multilateral trading system embodied by the WTO.
The Secretary highlighted Nepal’s strength and comparative advantages stating that the country is immensely rich in biodiversity and treasured with rich cultural heritage. Nepal is also rich in water resources and it has immense competitive advantage in hydropower and tourism industry, he added.
Joshi underlined that Nepal, in compliance with its WTO commitments, has pursued structural reforms in all areas of economy and made considerable progress in economic liberalisation that include reducing tariffs and quantitative restrictions on imports; rationalizing customs duties; reforming foreign exchange regime as well as reviewing trade and industrial policies.
He also said that Nepal has maintained liberal investment regime and has opened up a wide range of economic sectors for foreign investment
He defined Foreign Direct Investment as one of the important means to transfer home capital, technology and technical knowhow and highlighted Nepal’s efforts in increasing the flow of foreign investment into the country, including the formation of the high level Board of Investment aiming to create an investment friendly environment for both domestic and foreign investors.
During the Review, a number of delegations including all major development and trading partners of Nepal made encouraging comments on Nepal’s compliance with its commitments in the WTO by opening up its trade and investment regime as well as significantly reducing tariffs.
The delegation is led by Joshi including members of the Permanent Representative of Nepal in Geneva, Ambassador Shanker D. Bairagi and other officials from various ministries, Nepal Rastra Bank as well as the Permanent Mission.
The concluding session of Nepal’s TPR will be held on March 15. nepalnews.com