First of all, I would like to present my compliments and greetings on behalf of CNI and the Nepalese Private Sector for inviting us in this historic, beautiful and one of the emerging economies of Europe. It is a great pleasure to be here in this Nepalese-Czech Business Seminar. Our presence here today and the interaction we are going to hold with members of Czech businesses will play a crucial role to exchange our ideas in order to strengthen the economic relations and cooperation between Nepal and the Czech Republic in general and the industrial communities of both the countries in particular.
Nepal---'The land of Mount Everest' is a historical country and going through the political transition at present. However, there is consensus among the leading political parties on economic liberalization, industrialization of the country, investment promotion, and growth and development issues. There are vast potential areas of opportunities, waiting for exploitation primarily in the field of agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, hydro-electricity, mine and minerals etc.
The government of Nepal is also committed to improve the “doing business” environment by reforming various investment policies and implementing them to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). As the governments as well as political parties have been concentrating in conducting the election of Constituent Assembly (CA), which will promulgate the new constitution, it is expected to accelerate the growth of the country in coming years. Hence, I encourage the Czech investors to also take this opportunity through the investment in their area of interest.
Nepal established diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic on March 2, 1994. The Nepalese Ambassador to Germany is concurrently accredited to the Czech Republic and the Czech Ambassador to India is concurrently accredited to Nepal. Both Nepal and the Czech Republic work closely in international forums including the UN, on the issues of common interest. Nepal and the former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic had signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Public Health and Medical Sciences in 1979 and on Trade and Payment in 1982.
Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), a professionally led apex body of large and medium scale industries of manufacturing as well as service sector of Nepal, was established by the leader of Nepal’s industrial and corporate sector on April 17, 2000 with the theme of “Talking Business, Talking Change”. CNI, as a non-government, non- political and non-profit organization, actively lobbies with the government on the issues related to investment promotion and industrial development of Nepal. It also works in providing solutions in these issues. As a harbinger of changes taking place in the global economy, CNI is working with several business organizations of developing as well as developed countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and America and opening the opportunities in expanding business linkages.
The volume of trade between Czech Republic and Nepal has been increasing gradually and reached $ 2.6 million in 2012. But it is in the favor of the Czech Republic and Nepal has faced deficit of $ 1.4 million. Nepal exports mainly readymade garments, handicrafts, hand-knotted woolen carpets, tea and medicinal herbs to the Czech Republic. Imports from the Czech mainly constitute medicine and medical equipment, electrical goods, machinery and parts, glass beads, motor cars, heavy equipments and parts.
Both Nepal and the Czech Republic have cordial relation not only with government level but also with the private sectors. The exchange of business delegation between these two countries is an example of the bilateral relations. In their visits, Czech investors had shown keen interest to invest in joint ventures in Nepal in the areas of water resources, alternative/renewable energy technologies and equipments, infrastructures, manufacturing and processing etc. I think hydroelectricity development and tourism are some of the immediate opportunities for the Czech investors – where they have experience since long and Nepal offers good opportunities.
I would like to recall and acknowledge the visit of the Deputy Minister of Environment of Czech Republic to Nepal in November 2011. I also acknowledge the visits of HE Ambassador of Czech Republic to Nepal Mr. Miloslav Stašek in regular basis. On various occasions, CNI had organized B2B interactions on which investors from both the countries proposed to establish the formal relation with the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (CICR) to enhance the economic cooperation. We will also be signing the MOU on this occasion.
In this occasion, I would like to request the Czech Government to initiate to form a 'Joint Economic Committee', which will be a formal platform for constructive dialogue to promote bilateral trade, and investment mechanism such as Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) etc. In this respect, I would like to invite a delegation of Czech Republic to Nepal including government and private sector stakeholders. I also would like to invite the president of CICR and other members to visit Nepal and have an interaction with Nepali private sector to explore business avenues.
At the end, I would like to thanks the government of Czech Republic, department of foreign economic policies and CICR for their kind cooperation and support extended to our team. My specials thank goes to Jaroslav Hanak, president of CICR for recognition and memorable hospitality. Similarly, my thank goes to Vishnu Agrawal, Honorary consul of the Czech Republic to Nepal for his continuous efforts in building the constructive relation between the private sectors of both the countries.
This is the excerpt of Basnyat’s statement delivered during the visit to Czech Republic by delegation of Confederation of Nepalese Industries who attended Czech Business Seminar, Prague. Basnyat is the President of Confederation of Nepalese Industries.