Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: The second Joint Secretary level meeting between Nepal and Bhutan in November in Thimphu will prepare bilateral trade agreement. “The trade talks will include issues regarding list of exportable products from both the countries,” said Surya Prasad Silwal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS). “The issues regarding trade routes and business procedures will also be discussed during the meeting,” he said.
“The meeting in November is expected to explore possible opportunities to boostbilateral trade,” Silwal said, adding that during the meeting they will discuss on the modality for the formal trade treaty that could be later on developed as various preferential treatment required for the bilateral trade.
Bhutan’s export to Nepal during 2008-09 was around Rs 300 billion whereas Bhutan’s import from Nepal was at Rs 200 million.
The meeting was earlier scheduled for September but has been rescheduled for November, said Silwal, who will lead the Nepali team to Thimphu.
Sonam P Wangdi will lead the Bhutanese team. The first Joint Secretary level trade talk between the two countries in March 2010 focused on Bilateral Trade Agreement, proposed by Bhutan about eight years ago,” he said, adding that Bhutan is interested in bilateral agreement as there is no bilateral trade agreement between Nepal and Bhutan.
Last time also, Silwal led the Nepali delegation and Wangdi led the five-member Bhutanese delegations in March 2010.
Delegations of chambers of business of both nations have been exchanging visits.
In 2004, Nepal and Bhutan signed an agreement to increase the number of flights between Paro and Kathmandu from twice a week to seven flights a week. Traditionally, most foreign trade of Bhutan used to be with Tibet.
After 1960, however, following the closing of the Bhutan-China border and the development of closer ties with India, formal trade with India replaced that with Tibet.