Bangladesh has agreed to simplify the process of granting visa on arrival to overland Nepali travellers at two border points, Banglabandha and Burimari. Although the facility is already in force, there is a lengthy documentation procedure.
Bangladesh expressed its willingness to cut the paperwork during the bilateral trade talks that concluded in Kathmandu on Thursday. An eight-member Bangladeshi delegation led by Monoj Kumar Roy, additional secretary of the Commerce Ministry of Bangladesh, and the Nepali team led by Jib Raj Koirala, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS), held discussions on various issues related to bilateral trade during the two-day meeting.
Nepal has long been asking Bangladesh to simplify the visa process. Koirala said Bangladesh had agreed to shorten the process for issuing visa on arrival at two entry points. “The visa process for cargo carriers, however, has been planned to be discussed during the next round of trade talks,” he added.
According to the MoCS, the meeting reached an agreement on eight points related to bilateral trade. Apart from easier visa s, Bangladesh will be providing duty-free access to 100 export products from Nepal. Most of these goods are agricultural products while some are manufactured goods, said Koirala.
Likewise, Nepal has proposed to provide preferential treatment to 50 Bangladeshi goods in Nepal. Bangladesh has been asking for duty-free access to 64 products.
The meeting also decided to defer discussions on a planned Kathmandu-Dhaka direct bus service till the next secretary-level meeting. “We have planned to hold discussions with the stakeholders before giving a decision on the proposal received from Bangladesh,” said Koirala.
Similarly, both the countries have agreed to harmonise sanitary-phytosanitary measures in order to remove technical barriers to trade. As per the MoCS, the two sides have agreed on a draft memorandum of understanding that will be signed at the next secretary-level meeting.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has submitted a draft operation guideline regarding the transportation of cargo to Mangla Port of Bangladesh by Nepali container trucks. “In return, Bangladesh has sought permission for their vehicles to travel to Nepal,” Koirala said.
The meeting has scheduled the next trade talks to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh for next year.