The Government of Nepal today launched four National Sector Export Strategies and a report on non-tariff measures (NTM) at a ceremony in Kathmandu. The strategies – covering the coffee, handmade paper and paper products, large cardamom, and tea sectors – aim to help boost the export capacities of the country, ensure more value addition to these exports and facilitate greater trade in regional and global markets.
The report on NTMs, based on a large-scale survey of over 500 Nepalese enterprises, clearly sets out the challenges faced by Nepalese exporters’ on non-tariff measures and identifies necessary actions to overcome these constraints.
The sector export strategies will serve as a blueprint for the Government, the private sector and the country's development partners to help the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve their competitiveness, move up the value change and ensure more inclusive trade that contributes to better quality jobs in Nepal.
The launch in Kathmandu comes after a series of multi-stakeholder consultations led by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with the Trade Export Promotion Centre of Nepal. Throughout the process, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has provided technical and expert support.
Announcing the strategy Nepal’s Minister for Commerce Meen Bahadur Bishwakarma said: ‘The Government of Nepal has selected coffee, tea, large cardamom and handmade paper and paper products identified in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy 2016 to reduce the country’s trade deficit.’
The National Sector Export Strategies highlights the competitiveness constraints in the sector while also identifying market opportunities to add more value to these products. Detailed plans of action provide guidance in the areas of production, processing, marketing and quality improvement with the aim of building sustainable value chains in these sectors.
The four strategies identify supply-side constraints and opportunities for value addition, diversification and investment specific for each sector. They connect trade-specific issues to broader developmental dimensions, including each sector's potential impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and sustainable development.
'These strategies are roadmaps to building value addition in all of these sectors and contributing to 'Brand Nepal,' said ITC Executive Director Arancha González
'The important element now is to move to action on these strategies and ensure coordination of financing and assistance to begin the transformation of these sectors.’
The four National Sector Export Strategies are also aligned to a business survey on non-tariff measures carried out by the International Trade Centre, which identifies key regulatory and procedural obstacles to trade faced by the Nepalese business community. Based on interviews with 577 companies in 20 different regions of Nepal, the survey finds that 50% of exporters are facing difficulties with a range of trade regulations and procedures.
Close to two-thirds of the challenges faced by Nepalese exporters relate to sanitary and phytosanitary standards and technical barriers to trade, and regulations and associated conformity assessment requirements such as testing and certifications. Another concern identified is a lack of accredited testing laboratories in Nepal.
‘The NTM survey findings shed light on where the knots are in the system that need to be loosened if businesses are to be able to export more and better benefit from trade opportunities. It shows that part of the solution lies in addressing constraints in foreign markets but that there is a lot that can be done at home in Nepal. ITC stands ready to support the Government in this effort,’ Ms. González said