By Our Reporter
The Nepal¬-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) organized a seminar on ‘Strengthening Cooperation to Promote the Construction of the Belt and Road between Nepal and China’ in Kathmandu on Monday.
The chief guest of the seminar, Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, highlighted the importance of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Nepal’s institutional mechanism to oversee its smooth implementation shared his thoughts on policy coordination amongst line ministers.
He apprised the gathering about the activities of High-level committee under the convenorship of Foreign Secretary to monitor and facilitate the implementation of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an MoU reached between Nepal and China on 17 May 2017 and the committee of Senior government officials and officials at the Joint Secretary level of relevant agencies as the members. He also shed light on the task undertaken by the Project Coordination and Facilitation Committee led by Finance Secretary Shankar Adhikari.
He laid emphasis on trade, connectivity and the active role of private sector in reaping maximum benefit from BRI. He underscored on interaction and exchanges between knowledge based societies of both countries.
Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong said that BRI would bring new opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperation. She said the Framework Agreement for the Promotion of Investment and Economic Cooperation and the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement reached between China and Nepal during Wang Yang, Vice Premier of the State Council of China last year injected fresh impetus into China-Nepal cooperation.
She expressed China’s pledge and readiness in partnering with Nepal to enhance policy coordination, strengthen mutual trust, and make joint efforts to bring the bilateral Comprehensive Partnership of Cooperation featuring everlasting friendship to a higher level.
Pointing the dire need of infrastructure in Nepal’s economic prosperity, she said, “China wants to be a partner in Nepal’s endeavor in the construction of infrastructure such as roads, airports, and dry ports”.
The Chinese envoy said that in a bid to promote unimpeded bilateral trade, both countries were pushing forward the joint feasibility study of China-Nepal Free Trade Agreement, the construction of China-Nepal Cross Border Economic Cooperation Zones and the negotiation on signing the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
Former Foreign Secretary Madhu Raman Acharya said no advocacy is required of BRI now and it was now time to take it to implementation phase. “Missing linkages must be bridged to implement it,” he said adding trade, investment, connectivity, physical infrastructure were the core areas of greater consideration. He was of the view that China not look at Nepal at its benefit but also act as a facilitator in advancing Nepal’s trade and development as per the inspiration of Nepali people.
Chairman of (NCCCI) Rajesh Kazi Shrestha said, “Nepal is land linked country between the world’s two economic giants China and India and Nepal’s strategic location not only offers unparalleled preferential access to China and India and a transit country between China and other South Asian nations.” He urged Chinese business community to invest in Nepal’s rewarding sectors like hydropower, agriculture, trade related infrastructure, tourism, herbs and herbal products, natural resources and service sector.
Former ambassadors Shambhu Ram Simkhada and Hirnyalal Shrestha said that sooner or later India will join BRI. They expressed their hope that India and China will amicably resolve the issue relating to BRI and move forward enhancing their trade.