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New US trade facility disappoints Nepalese RMG makers

Nepal’s garment entrepreneurs, who were trying to boost their business with the recent enactment of Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act by the US Congress, are disappointed now. During a recent interaction with Garment Association Nepal (GAN), the visiting Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative Dawn Shackleford made it clear that the law does not encompass major garment items produced in the country.

The Congress, through the law, has authorised the US government to extend duty-free facility to Nepal for 66 items that include pashmina products, headgear, shawls, leather products, scarves, and travel goods (bags, suitcases), among others, one of the representatives of GAN quoted Shackleford as saying during the interaction. The facility also includes carpet items manufactured in Nepal, which had been excluded by the US government’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility.

The major garment items produced in Nepal are shirts, trousers, jackets, suits, among others. However, these items have not made the cut. Shackleford visited Nepal recently to hold discussions on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) council meeting with the government. The TIFA council meeting was expected to be held once a year when the framework agreement was signed in 2011, but has only met once in the US after the agreement was signed.