First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Nepal has failed to put in enough effort to promote the export of ‘highly prioritized’ products under the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) as the overseas trade of a majority of these ‘export potential’ products has been dismal. Recent statistics released by the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) reveal that the export performance of eight out of the nine products termed as ‘products with high export potential’ has come down in fiscal year 2019-20 as compared to the previous fiscal. The NTIS has identified nine goods—woollen carpets, cardamom, ginger, tea, medicinal herbs, hides and skins, footwear, pashmina and yarn and textiles —as having a comparative advantage. Among these, the export of eight goods has dropped while the export of medical herbs has increased nominally. Export of herbal products has increased by 5.31 per cent to Rs 1.51 billion in the last fiscal year. TEPC’s statistics show that Nepal exported NTIS products worth Rs 30.11 billion in fiscal 2019-20, a fall by 18.6 percent compared to the export performance of NTIS goods in 2018-19 fiscal year when the country exported Rs 37.01 billion worth of these ‘prioritized’ products. Launched and implemented since 2016, the NTIS envisioned creating an enabling environment for trade by strengthening the supply capacity as well as institutional capacity development of trade-related institutions. The government had listed various products and services that have a niche market advantage under NTIS and started providing support for the production, marketing and export of products and services listed under the NTIS. Moreover, the government is also providing up to 5% subsidy on the export of NTIS products. Similarly, Enhanced Integrated Framework, the aid for trade mechanism of World Trade Organization and various other donors for productive capacity enhancement of least developed countries, has been providing support to effectively and efficiently implement the NTIS. However, export performance of NTIS products is discouraging which hints at the low priority accorded by the government to boost their export performance. Officials at the TEPC said that the drop in export of NTIS products was primarily due to the spread of COVID-19 which halted trade and market activities. “Export performance of all NTIS goods was impressive till the first eight months of the previous fiscal year. However, these goods could not be exported for the remaining four months due to the pandemic and different trade barriers imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 contagion,” said Sarad Bikram Rana, executive director of TEPC. On the other hand, experts say that the export performance of NTIS goods was dismal not only in the previous year but also before it. They have stressed on the need to work on the entire value chain of a product, from their production process to market accessibility, in a bid to ensure better export performance of NTIS goods.
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