Nepal, India agree to form joint business forum

Kathmandu (IANS) Nepal and India have agreed to form a joint business forum after bilateral ties started to thaw following the recent high-level exchanges.

A meeting of the India-Nepal inter-governmental committee on trade and transit has decided to form such a forum representing private sectors from both sides.

The commerce secretary-level meeting, which took after two years, reviewed the progress made on trade and commerce issues between the two countries.

The meeting co-chaired by Indian Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and Nepal’s Secretary of Commerce and Supplies Baikuntha Aryal was held virtually on Monday.

According to a press release issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu after the meeting, the two sides also discussed in detail various government-level initiatives that need to be taken in future for further enhancing trade and commercial linkages.

The committee is the apex bilateral mechanism to review and set a way forward for further enhancing bilateral trade and economic ties. These include discussions on comprehensive reviews of the Treaty of Transit and the Treaty of Trade, amendments to the Rail Services Agreements, measures taken for investment promotion, constitution of Joint Business Forum, harmonisation of standards as well as synchronised development of trade infrastructure on the two sides.

India is the largest trade and investment partner of Nepal both in terms of imports and exports.

“The wide-ranging discussions today and the progress made in the meeting are expected to further support the expansion in economic and commercial ties between India and Nepal,” read the statement.

The inter-governmental committee meeting on trade and transit follows the recent visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Nepal last month. The visit is said to have provided an impetus to the bilateral talks between the two countries which were halted for months after Nepal in May issued its revised map, including Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura that India also claims as its territories.

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