US President Barack Obama has signed a legislation authorising special trade preferences for Nepal, which grants duty-free tariff benefits for up to 66 types of items, to help the country recover from the last year’s devastating quakes.
The items include certain carpets, headgear, shawls, scarves, and travel goods, according to a statement issued by the US Embassy, Kathmandu today.
“The Nepal programme is authorised for ten years and designed to help Nepal’s economic recovery from the earthquakes that struck the country last year.
“The programme grants duty-free tariff benefits for Nepali exports not currently eligible for benefits under the General System of Preferences (GSP),” the statement said.
The Nepal Trade Preferences Legislation also outlines a trade capacity building programme, focused on helping Nepal implement the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), according to the statement.
Obama signed the legislation yesterday.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Nepali business to expand their imports to US markets,” remarked US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz.
“We look forward to learning more about Nepal’s plans for implementing the TFA and how the United States Government can contribute to this goal,” she added.
“To implement the new trade preference programme, the US needs to complete certain administrative steps. Firstly, 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 countries,” according to the US Embassy.
The US is also required to request a review by the US International Trade Commission of the products covered by the preference programme to ensure that an increase in imports of these products into the US will not adversely affect the US economy.
These statutorily-required reviews may take several months to complete, according to the statement.