A visiting Nepali delegation in the US for the Joint Nepal-US Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council meeting, requested the US to adopt further flexibility in the duty-free market access facility the country has offered to Nepali readymade garment products. Even though the US has offered the facility to 66 garment items under the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, Nepali garment manufacturers are disappointed that most of the items listed under the facility are not produced in Nepal.
Nepali garment sector suffered the worst disaster because of the lack of competitiveness, after the quota system was removed in 2005. In 2000-01, Nepal’s garment exports reached an all-time high of Rs13.12 billion, with the US accounting for 86.49 per cent of the exports. But it slumped to Rs5.28 billion in fiscal 2014-15.
Representatives of the Garment Association of Nepal also participated in bilateral meeting and they raised their concerns, said Kailash Raj Pokharel, economic consular at the Nepali embassy in the US.
A member of the Nepali team present in the meeting said the US side advised that Nepal utilise the available facility for greater benefit of the garment sector for now. They were of the view that there remains the possibility of resistance in the US if the product list was extended, said the Nepali delegation member.