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Infra agenda top during Xi’s visit



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By Modnath Dhakal

Kathmandu, Oct. 6: China is the world’s second largest economy with the highest number of people that has unprecedented speed in economic, infrastructural and technological development. And, it is the neighbor of Nepal!
China and Nepal not only share millennia-old bilateral relations but also cooperate in various multilateral platforms. However, this is high time that Nepal should benefit from Chinese technology and expertise in infrastructure development.
Nepali people aspire for the same from their northern neighbor.
Experts said that infrastructure and trade promotion through connectivity development should be the main agenda during the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jingping.
“China has expertise in technical and technological aspects of infrastructure development which is not found elsewhere, including the western countries and India,” said infrastructure expert Dr. Surya Raj Acharya, who is the Spokesperson of the Bibeksheel Sajha Party.
The two countries already have accords for the technology transfer in infrastructure development. But the country has largely failed to reap the benefits of the past Chinese political commitments, said Dr. Acharya.
“The two countries have agreed to develop cross-border roads and railways to facilitate the flow of people and goods. Nepal should also develop connectivity infrastructure up to Chinese borders,” he said.
Vice-President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chandra Prasad Dhakal said that greater connectivity between Nepal and China should be the main agenda during Xi’s visit.
“China should support Nepal in connectivity and it is a matter of happiness that we are moving towards that direction. Another issue that needs immediate attention is trade facilitation,” he said. “China should allow Nepali products that have high export potentials.”
According to Dhakal, a Chinese bank – whether a joint venture with a Nepali bank or an FDI initiative – is needed in Nepal to facilitate the trade between the two countries.
Likewise, Chairman of Customs Committee at Nepal Chamber of Commerce Niraj Rai said that the upgrading of the Galchhi-Keyrung road and Barhabise-Tatopani road was instrumental in boosting the trade between the two countries.
However, he said that Nepal and China should open more border points so that Nepali producers and exporters have alternative options which might boost the export of Nepali goods.
“If China wants to support Nepal in its economic development, it should ease the export of Nepali goods, especially the agricultural products. Ayurvedic medicines and handicraft are other competitive areas of Nepal which are not facilitated by China,” he said.
Rai also suggested that the government should ask the Chinese side to promote Nepal as a tourist destination in their government tours as well.