WCP Nepal-AIB South Asia conference 2024 kicks off

The conference focuses on the capacity building of researchers, academicians and policy-makers to enhance trade competitiveness in global market

KATHMANDU: The WCP Nepal-AIB South Asia Conference 2024 commenced in the capital with a two-day dialogue aimed at shaping the region’s economic future. Jointly organized by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Chairs Programme Nepal and Kathmandu University, the conference focuses on ‘Global Trade and South Asia: Competitiveness, Value Chains and ESG.’

Participants emphasized the need for innovative approaches to harness the full potential of global trade, stressing the importance of business infrastructure development, SME promotion, increased climate sector investments, and streamlined border processes in South Asia. Addressing the gathering, KU’s Registrar Professor Achyut Wagle advised Nepal to adopt a specific commerce policy to enhance competitiveness as a middle-income country.

Professor S Raghunath, AIB-SAC Executive Board Chair, highlighted global interdependence and called for an inclusive approach in the supply chain. Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Narayan Prasad Sharma Duwadee, pledged to consider research-based suggestions to bridge policy-level gaps and ensure balanced foreign trade.

Chandra Kumar Ghimire, former Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, stressed the untapped potential of inter-regional trade in South Asia, currently at USD 23 billion with room to increase to USD 62 billion.

As Nepal addresses challenges following its developing nation status, Secretary Duwadee advocated for a competitive market through domestic production to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a virtual address, Nepal’s representative in the UN, Ram Prasad Subedi, emphasized the role of foreign trade in development and called for diversifying products and markets to reduce the trade deficit.

WTO Deputy Director General, Xiangchen Zhang, committed to facilitating global trade through capacity building, emphasizing the international community’s responsibility in addressing climate change and environmental risks.

Kathmandu University’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Bhola Thapa highlighted the evolving trade dynamics affecting small economies like Nepal, emphasizing collaborative efforts to address challenges. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Kolkata Campus Chief Professor K Rangarajan noted the underutilization of trade benefits in South Asia despite demographic advantages.

Dr. Pankaj Mittal, General Secretary of the Association of Indian Universities, proposed academic studies to maintain inter-country linkages. Over 60 experts from seven countries are participating, presenting research papers on various topics during the conference.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday January 8, 2024, 10:19:46 AM |

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