An India-Nepal inter-government committee (IGC) meeting on trade, transit and cooperation has discussed ways to control unauthorised trade. During the meeting here that concluded on April 27, the Indian delegation was led by Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary and the Nepal side was headed by Chandra Kumar Ghimire, Commerce Secretary of Nepal. The two sides held extensive and productive discussions on a variety of issues relating to bilateral trade, transit and economic relations, according to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy here.
“The meeting concluded with several landmark decisions aimed at boosting the bilateral trade and investment ties significantly,” it said. Both countries during the meeting agreed to initiate, by July, a comprehensive review of the bilateral trade treaty which governs bilateral trade and was last revised in 2009, considering all factors, according to the press release. “The meeting discussed amendments to the bilateral treaty of transit, signed in 1999, to further facilitate transit movement of Nepal’s trade with third countries by expanding transit points, simplification of procedures, electronic cargo tracking and also enabling movement of Indian cargo through Nepali territory,” it said.
Additionally, both sides aim to consolidate all earlier amendments to the treaty of transit, within a month, it said. Since most bilateral trade takes place through land customs stations across the border between India and Nepal, the two countries also agreed on synchronised development of border trade infrastructure so as to ensure timely utilisation of the investment in border infrastructure. The release said in order to enhance the volume of trade, the two countries stressed on the need for bilateral harmonisation of standards and expediting progress on MoUs between concerned agencies including BIS and FSSAI from the Indian side. The two sides further agreed to work towards mutual recognition of each other’s testing and certifications.
In order to ensure regular inputs from business and investors, both sides had earlier agreed to constitute India-Nepal Joint Business Forum consisting of industry representatives from the two countries that will function as an institutional B2B mechanism for providing policy level inputs on trade and investment. Both countries are aiming at holding the first meeting of the forum shortly.
The meeting was preceded by a two-day meet of inter-governmental sub-committee on trade, transit and cooperation to control unauthorised trade at the joint secretary level which concluded on April 25.