There was news of the Nepal consul opening office here to facilitate Nepali traders’ import and export of goods via Andhra Pradesh. The state government has now initiated the process for the same; to open a consul general’s office in Visakhapatnam. This will be the second consul office Nepal opens in India, the first is situated in Kolkata.
It was one of the topics raised on the agendas discussed during the Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting recently held in New Delhi. Nepal Ministry of Commerce Joint Secretary Rabi Shankar Sainju announced, “India has taken our request positively and has agreed to facilitate the matter. We’ll now have to formally send a letter to India via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
The government will hold an Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting to discuss issues and finalise details of the third-country trade via Visakhapatnam. The meeting will provide India and Nepal with a platform to discuss various issues in detail and help in removing potential trade barriers.
The government previous allowed Nepal the use of Visakhapatnam Port for third-country trade during former Nepal minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to the country. When the trade corridor failed to come through due to banks not issuing letters of credit for goods entering the country via Visakhapatnam, the plan fell through. Now with the permission of Nepal Rastra Bank, it is back on board.
The only drawback Nepal finds in this plan is the distance between Visakhapatnam and Nepal that stands at 1436 KM; Kolkata is only 704 Km away. But Visakhapatnam can handle bigger cargo vessels and reduce ocean freight cost. The Nepali Embassy in New Delhi will handle the issues till the consulate opens up here.