KATHMANDU, Nepal — A new project funded by the European Union to strengthen Nepal’s path towards more inclusive economic growth and greater integration into regional and global value chains was announced today in Kathmandu. The International Trade Centre (ITC) will implement the project, which focuses on Nepal’s pashmina fine wool and speciality coffee sectors, in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS).
Building on ITC’s long experience in providing trade-related technical assistance in Nepal, the project will be a contribution towards the country’s efforts to achieve greater sustainable economic growth and development, and its goal of graduating from the least developed country (LDC) category in the near future.
More than 150 stakeholders, partners and beneficiaries from the Government of Nepal and private sector associations attended the event held at the Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Baikuntha Aryal, Secretary for Commerce and Supplies at the Ministry for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said: ‘This EU-funded project is a timely initiative to help Nepal in its efforts to enhance competitiveness of priority export potential products, and to address the ballooning trade deficit. I am happy to note that with the technical expertise from the International Trade Centre, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Nepal, particularly in the coffee and pashmina sector, will benefit greatly through better quality, market promotion and market intelligence leading to exports.’
ITC Acting Executive Director Ms. Dorothy Tembo said: ‘This EU-funded Nepal Trade Related Assistance project will focus on areas of particular importance to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, such as improving the cost and ease of doing business through enhanced trade facilitation measures and streamlining customs procedures and supporting the government and business community to take informed decisions based on trade data. This will also help to sustain the momentum the country needs to continue on its path towards graduation from the LDC category.’
Veronica Cody, Ambassador of the European Union to Nepal, said: ‘We believe that “Coffee from the Himalaya” and “Chyangra Pashmina” have the potential to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty, decent jobs for women and youth, and we are pleased to engage with our Nepali partners from the Government, the International Trade Centre and the private sector to pursue this goal.’
A main objective of the project will be to increase trade and the participation of Nepali enterprises in regional and global value chains. Key to achieving this will be to strengthen the capacities of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and the Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), enabling their staff to better formulate trade policies, negotiate and implement trade agreements. As part of this, a trade facilitation and export policies toolbox will be developed. The project also emphasizes increasing the capacities throughout Nepal’s coffee and pashmina value chain, with a view to connect coffee smallholders and farmers to market.
The ‘EU-Nepal Trade-Related Assistance: Facilitating Increased Trade and Participation in Coffee and Pashmina Value Chains’ – was developed following a request from MoICS and the TEPC to support the coffee and pashmina value chains. It also aims to help realize strategies and recommendations from sector export strategies and a Non-Tariff Measures Survey that ITC has supported.