ISLAMABAD - Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, Ambassador of Nepal on Friday said that his country was keen to promote trade with Pakistan as both countries have good potential to enhance bilateral trade multiple fields.
She added that trade was now an integral part of sustainable development in the globalized and interdependent world. She said Nepal-Pakistan bilateral trade was not satisfactory despite having multiple consultative mechanisms and robust institutional as well as legal frameworks.
She stressed that both countries should make more efforts to promote frequent interactions between their private sectors and organize trade fairs, exhibitions and promotional activities to exploit all untapped areas of mutual cooperation. She was addressing the business community at ICCI. She said many Nepalese products including tea, coffee, pashmina products, woolen carpets, handicrafts, gold & silver jewelry, optical lenses, pulses, paper & paper products and medicinal herbs have good prospects in Pakistan.
Similarly, Pakistani textiles & leather products, machinery and parts, medicines and medical equipment, shoes and sandals, spices, dried fruits etc. have great potential in Nepalese market. She highlighted hydropower, tourism and agriculture as other potential areas of mutual cooperation between the two countries.
The envoy said Nepal possessed around 83000 MW potential of hydropower generation, but was currently generating only around 700 MW hydroelectricity while the domestic demand was more than 1500 MW which was estimated to reach 3600 MW by 2027.
She said Pakistani investors should invest in hydropower, agriculture and herbal processing industries in Nepal to take benefit of its liberalized investment policies. She assured that she would work with commitment to increase the volume of trade, tourism, investment and people-to-people relations between Nepal and Pakistan.
Speaking at the occasion, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that lack of direct connectivity between Pakistan and Nepal was the major hurdle in bilateral trade. He said both countries should focus on establishing direct air links and explore other options for doing direct trade for achieving better results.
He said both countries have shown interest to sign a free trade agreement and urged for its early finalization that would be helpful in increasing bilateral trade to satisfactory level. He emphasized that Nepalese investors should also explore opportunities of investment and joint ventures in CPEC projects in Pakistan.
He said frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing single country exhibitions on reciprocal basis were the best tools to explore new areas of mutual collaboration. He stressed that Pakistan and Nepal should enhance cooperation in those areas where comparative advantages, competitive benefits and complementarities were high including tourism, hydropower and agriculture.
Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Zafar Bakhtawari, Mian Akram Farid and others also spoke at the occasion. NNI