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Nepal Begins Second Trade Policy Review

The government has started work on the Trade Policy Review (TPR), which is a mandatory component for members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Trade Policy Review has to be submitted to the secretariat of the multilateral organization by the end of 2018.

According to Ministry of Commerce, it has formed a steering committee led by the Secretary Chandra Kumar Ghimire and a technical committee led by the joint secretary at the planning division of the ministry.

The Backdrop:

There are specific protocols for different member nations to revisit their trade policy at different intervals, specified by the WTO. According to the protocol,

  • The developed countries are required to review their trade policy every two years.
  • The developing countries are required to review their trade policy every four years.
  • The least developed countries are required to review their trade policy every six years.

The Backstory:

Nepal joined the WTO in April 2004 and became its 147th member. In 2012, Nepal conducted its first TPR.

What they are saying:

  • “These committees will be preparing a draft on a major review of the policies that directly affected the country’s foreign trade in the years following 2012,” ministry spokesperson Rabi Shankar Sainju said. “In addition, we have to report to the WTO about the progress the country has achieved over the years in macroeconomic areas.”
  • Sainju said a team from the WTO, Geneva would be visiting Nepal by the end of this week. “The reports drafted by the government and the WTO mission will be presented to the secretariat of the WTO.”

The Details:

During the period following the first TPR in 2012, Nepal has endorsed the Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, Power Purchase Guideline, Guidelines for Development of Grid Connected Alternative Energy, Trade Policy 2015, Industrial Enterprises Act 2016, Companies Act 2017, Foreign Investment and One-Window Policy 2015 and National Tourism Strategy 2016-25, among others.

By the numbers:

  • In 2016-17, Nepal witnessed a negative trade balance of Rs. 917 billion, up 30 percent compared to the previous year.
  • In the first six months of the current fiscal year too, the country’s trade deficit has surged to Rs. 493 billion from Rs. 428.33 billion.

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