Four Saarc member states—Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan—have launched an initiative to resolve the trade-related problems.
A team of sub-regional alliance has started holding talks with stakeholders, including local traders.
Following an interaction with local traders at Mechi Customs Office in Kakarbhitta, Jhapa, on Monday, Nepali Ambassador to Bangladesh Hari Kumar Shrestha said the countries have agreed to explore trade potential. “We have planned to develop a common agenda after carrying out field-based study of bordering areas,” he said. “This could help understand the actual problems of one another, and find out instant solution even for the complicated problems.” He added high-level political commitment is needed to promote trade through field study.
Pankaj Saran, Indian High Commission in Dhaka, said the study aims at understanding problems related to trade, commerce, hydropower and water. He said a recently-held meeting of ambassadors in Dhaka decided to form a “joint working committee” for the purpose.
The team will also visit Jaygaun-Phulchholing (India-Bhutan border), Kakadvitta-Panitanki (Nepal-India border) Phulbari-Banglabandh (India-Bangladesh border) and Chyangrabandh-Worimari (India-Bangladesh border). Saran said the visits are targeted at enabling the countries to take maximum mutual trade benefits.
Bhutanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Aum Pema Choden expressed unhappiness for the failure to sign the Nepal-Bhutan Commerce Treaty despite two phases of bilateral meets.
She said Bhutan is ready to comply with provisions maintained in the treaty. “A formal agreement at the earliest would be beneficial for the both countries,” she said.
On Monday, the team also carried out an interaction with traders. “Most of the traders complained about problems in Nepal-Bangladesh bilateral trade,” said Mukti Pandey, chief customs officer at Mechi Customs.
Mohan Niraula, president of Customs Agents Associa-tion said workers’ syndicate and negligence of the customs officials have hit them hard.