Nepal seeks two additional seaports with India for third country trade

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KATHMANDU, Feb 9: Nepal has proposed India to allow two additional seaports to do business with third countries, senior government officials said on Saturday.

Rabi Shanker Sainju, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Republica Online that they proposed the Indian side to allow Mundra port (Gujarat) and Dhamra port (Odisha) to do business with third countries during the bilateral trade treaty review meeting with India which concluded in Pokhara on Friday night.

“We proposed the Indian side to allow two more seaports to do business with third countries. The Indian side responded positively on our request,” Sainju said. Currently, Visakhapatnam Port in Andrapradesh and Haldia Port in Kolkata are the two seaports from where Nepal brings in or sends goods to third countries.

During the meeting, it was discussed that Nepal would soon propose the draft of the revised trade treaty to the Indian government.

“We will share the Indian side about what provisions precisely Nepal wants to amend in the exisiting trade treaty,” Sainju said adding that the next meeting will discuss about revising the trade treaty.

The two sides were agreed declaring inland waterways as ‘trade route’ in Nepal-India Trade Treaty, according to Sainju.

The Nepali side raised the issue of the country’s ballooning trade deficit with India while seeking help to reduce the same.

“We also discussed about measures to address Nepal’s agenda to drop the zero-tariff facility on Indian agricultural goods and some other primary products,” Sainju said.

During the meeting, the Nepali side sought India’s assurance to increase export of Nepal’s agricultural goods to the Indian market to address huge trade deficit.

The two sides also discussed about enhancing cross-border air and railway connectivity.

The two countries had agreed to revise the trade treaty along with the transit treaty and Railway Service Agreement in April 2018. The two countries revised the trade treaty last time in 2016.

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