Feb 26, 2016
Obama signs Nepal trade Bill
Feb 26, 2016
US President Barack Obama has signed a legislation authorizing special trade preferences for Nepal, which will grant duty-free tariff benefits for up to 66 types of items, including certain carpets, headgear, shawls, scarves, and travel goods, the American Embassy in Kathmandu has said.
The legislation is seen as a boost to the Nepalese garment industry which has been on the verge of collapse since the expiry of Multi Fibre Agreement, popularly known as quota phase out, in January 2005. After the expiry of MFA, the US government has been imposing around 17 per cent tariff on import of cotton apparels.
The Nepal programme is authorized for ten years and is designed to help Nepal’s economic recovery from the earthquakes that struck the country last year. The programme will grant duty-free tariff benefits for Nepali exports not currently eligible for benefits under the General System of Preferences (GSP). The Nepal Trade Preferences Legislation also authorizes a trade capacity building program, focused on helping Nepal implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Nepali business to expand their imports to US markets,” said US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz. “We look forward to learning more about Nepal’s plans for implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Program and how the United States Government can contribute to this goal.”
For the new trade preference programme to go into effect, certain administrative steps need to be completed in the US. First, the President must certify that Nepal meets the eligibility requirements of the programme, which are the same as those for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) countries.
The US International Trade Commission will also need to review the products covered by the preference program to ensure that an increase in imports of these products into the US market will not negatively affect the US economy. These statutorily-required reviews will take several months to complete, the Embassy said.
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