Himalaysan Times | 2010-09-26
Nepal-Pakistan to sign FTA in October
Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: Nepal and Pakistan are planning to ink Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during the meeting of Joint Economic Commission (JEC) scheduled for October. A high-level bilateral task force is set to be finalised that will discuss the matter in the JEC meeting.
“Government is setting up a team of delegation that will head for the JEC meeting,” said Surya Prasad Silwal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS).
JEC meeting is scheduled for October 19-20, this year in Islamabad. “The meeting will discuss all the economic aspects of the two countries,” Silwal said, adding that the Finance Ministry is also preparing for the JEC meeting. The plan has been put on a fast-track basis after a brief visit of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to Nepal while on his way to Bhutan to attend the SAARC meet in Thimphu in April.
Even though, both Nepal and Pakistan are signatories to the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and members of the South Asian Economic Union, the bilateral trade between the two countries remains negligible.
Pakistan’s total export to Nepal is worth $1.63 million whereas exports from Nepal to Pakistan have touched $3.16 million.
Nepal will be the second country in South Asia to enter into a free trade arrangement with Pakistan after Sri Lanka that inked a FTA deal with Islamabad some years ago.