Kathmandu, June 4

Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevedo has suggested that the least developed countries (LDCs) should keep lobbying to get LDC specific facilities as agreed by the developed countries in the Bali Ministerial Meeting held in Indonesia in December last year.

At a press briefing held at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) on Wednesday, the visiting dignitary said developed countries have agreed to ease complex provisions in regard to the rules of origin for goods and services trade of LDCs. 

The developed countries have also agreed to reduce customs duty by 97 to 100 percent. “Rules of origin is the very important area for the least developed countries,” said Azevedo, adding that the Bali meeting had agreed to provide preferential treatment for service trade of LDCs.

Nepal has been enjoying WTO´s cooperation in the areas of trade facilitation and product development. WTO´s Enhanced Integrated Framework has been supporting Nepal in the development of products and services having comparative and competitive advantage. 

Roberto Azevedo, the director general of the World Trade Organization, speaks with the media at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies at Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, on Wednesday.

Azevedo stressed on the branding of Nepali goods to make them attractive in the global market. 

“So far we have been supporting Nepal in trade facilitation. We can now provide technical assistance for Nepal to improve custom procedures as well, which is extremely important for landlocked countries like Nepal,” Azevedo said, adding “If you want to be the player in the global value chain, you´ve to update the system.”

According to him, WTO has been providing level playing field for all its member nations

Azevedo also said he would help to figure out the problems that Nepal has been facing in regard to export trade. “We have to listen to the problem of small economies like Nepal,” Azevedo said, adding: “I came here to see whether we can work together to figure out better ways to overcome those challenges.” 

Speaking at the program, Minister for Commerce and Supplies Sunil Bahadur Thapa said Nepal should work hard to do away with supply side constraints. 

Meanwhile, Azevedo met with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Wednesday. During the meeting, he stressed the need for strong democratic institutions in the country. “We talked about ongoing political reforms in Nepal. I told the prime minister that political stability is very important for investors,” said Azevedo.

Source: myrepublica.com (05/06/2014)