ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and Nepal have agreed to expand the areas of cooperation in economic and cultural fronts that would help to consolidate the foundations of relations and ultimately enhance the welfare of their people.
It was agreed during sixth session of Nepal-Pakistan Joint Economic.
In his opening remarks of the session, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that Pakistan is keen to enhance its existing friendly ties with Nepal for exploring new avenues for cooperation in commercial and economic fields for mutual benefit. He said Pakistan is mindful of the fact that existing cordial and friendly relations between Pakistan and Nepal can be further translated into substantial economic and commercial cooperation. This forum can help in harnessing the true potential of mutual trade, which is still far below the existing three potentials.
“There is certainly a need for taking concrete measures for increasing and diversifying bilateral trade and we are quite optimistic that the conclusion of Free Trade Agreement will open new vistas in promoting our trade,” Dar said.
The minister said that enormous opportunities exist for bilateral investment and joint ventures through public-public and public-private partnerships.
“The business circles of our two countries can extend cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture, telecommunication, education and health.” Dar said that Pakistan wishes an active engagement of Alternate Energy Board of Pakistan with Alternate Energy Promotion Centre of Nepal for sharing their experience in this area. A memorandum of understanding, which is to be signed shortly, will pave the way for furthering the collaboration in this sector.
Shanker Prasad Koirala, Nepalese Finance Minister said, “We are happy that the sixth meeting of Nepal-Pakistan bilateral Joint Economic Commission has taken place despite a considerable gap of eight years.” He said, “Relations between Nepal and Pakistan are marked by good will, friendship and cooperation. Cooperation in agriculture tourism, education and culture, health, textiles and leather industries would contribute in the economic development and prosperity of our people.”
He said that Nepal has emerged as one of the finest Pashmina producers.
“We do see potentials that our agriculture products like cardamom, tea, cofee, medicinal herbs can find a reasonable space in Pakistani market.”
He appreciated the Pakistani government’s decision to allow duty-free access to Nepalese tea in Pakistan and hoped that this would find continuity with commensurate simplification of procedure at the Karachi port. Koirala laid emphasis on frequent exchange of business delegations, organisation of trade and tourism fairs in both the countries and collaboration between the two private sectors that impetus to the promotion of trade and commerce. He said, “We need to improve the trade environment between the two countries, by reforming both tariff and non-tariff barriers and preferential cargo tariffs.”