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Press Release: A High level interaction on WTO and Nepal
Dated: 09 September, 2014

Unofficial translation

Press Release

A discussion programme, ‘WTO and Nepal’, was concluded in Kathmandu today in the presence of Director General of the WTO H.E. Roberto Azevêdo, who is on a two-day visit to Nepal. The programme was attended by high-level officials of the GoN including Chief Secretary Mr Lilamani Poudel and Acting Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) Mr Toya Narayan Gyawali, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, members of the National Planning Commission, Ambassador of Brazil, and representatives of the private sector, media and trade experts. The programme was chaired by Minister of State for MoCS Hon. Giri Bahadur KC and its technical sessions were presided over by Chief Secretary Mr Lilamani Poudel.


At the beginning of the discussion, chair of the programme, Minister of State for MoCS, welcoming the participants, underscored the importance of implementing the Bali Package, which was an outcome of the MC9 held in Bali in Indonesia, and of increasing support to the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). The WTO Director General Azevêdo, the chief speaker at the programme, recalled that Nepal had supported him considerably during the time it acted as coordinator of LDCs in 2013, which had helped him a lot in coordinating the Bali Package. The Bali Resolution had raised new hopes, and Nepal alone had succeeded in receiving support in the implementation of as many as three projects. He, however, said that all needed to be realistic. Director General Azevêdo added that there should not be any delay in decision-making in order to receive benefits from any trade framework and, as it is not easy to get benefits, the LDCs should be competitive in receiving benefits from the WTO.


Chairing the technical session, Chief Secretary said that Nepal could not fulfill the high expectations that it had from joining the WTO, but he requested all to take part in the discussions. A participant, NRB Governor Dr Yuvaraj Khatiwada said that optimal utilization of the available opportunities was the biggest challenge for Nepal. Similarly, NPC member Swarnim Wagle called for paying special attention to the capacity development aspect. Former NRB governor Himalaya Sumsher JBR stressed the need for an inclusive world. Trade expert Prachanda Man Shrestha said that Nepal had indeed got opportunities from WTO membership, but supply-side constraints, lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of knowledge of the opportunities offered by the WTO agreements and technical constraints came in the way of utilizing those opportunities. Former Secretary of MoCS Purushottam Ojha highlighted capacity development and trade related assistance and need for forecasting ability. Rita Bhandari, President of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN), Dinesh Shrestha of FNCCI, Suresh Kumar Basnet, President of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Gokarna Awasthi of Kantipur Publications, among others, shared their views. 


Responding to the participants’ queries and comments, WTO DG Roberto Azevêdo, reiterating that the WTO is not an agency that provides support but plays the role of a forum for dialogue, added that it offers a broad forum for dialogue and Nepal should be able to benefit from it like other countries. He further added that, since government’s role is only to facilitate trade and it is in fact the private sector that really carries out trade, the private sector should take further initiative in this matter.