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US, Nepal Sign TIFA

by Leroy Baker,, Washington

18 April 2011

On April 15, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ron Kirk, and the Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Bharat Mohan Adhikari, signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which should provide a forum for bilateral talks to enhance trade and investment, discuss specific trade issues, and promote more comprehensive trade agreements between the two countries.

“I am pleased to be able to sign this TIFA with Nepal so the US can enhance its trade and investment relationship with this important South Asian country. We now have an institutional framework for discussing trade and investment issues and learning more about each other’s legal, regulatory and trading regimes,” said Kirk.

“The US looks forward to deepening its relationship with Nepal and breaking down any and all barriers that may prevent our producers, exporters and ranchers from selling their products in Nepal,” he added.

It was said that, in 2010, US exports to Nepal were about USD28m. The top export categories to Nepal were aircraft, machinery, and optic and medical instruments. Nepal gained membership of the World Trade Organization in 2004.

In 1947, the US and Nepal signed a bilateral Economic and Trade Agreement which will be replaced by the TIFA. The US-Nepal Council on Trade and Investment created pursuant to the TIFA, will address a wide range of trade and investment issues, such as capacity building and technical assistance, intellectual property rights, worker rights, environmental protection, and removing barriers to bilateral trade. It is expected that the first meeting of US-Nepal Council will discuss the granting of preferential access to selected Nepali products, including pashmina.

The USTR confirmed that the US has TIFAs in the region with a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and with Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan). In addition, the US addresses trade and investment issues with India through the US-India Trade Policy Forum.

TAGS: tax | law | tariffs | trade treaty | agreements | United States | trade | Nepal

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