The United States is interested to revise the list of Nepali products enjoying duty free access through the Trade Preferences Act (TPA). US officials have assured Nepal that readymade garments (RMG) from the country will be considered for inclusion in that list, according to Chandra K Ghimire, Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies. Seventy seven products are currently listed under the TPA. Ghimire said this after attending the fourth meeting of the Nepal-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council recently in the United States, according to some reports.
A Ghimire-led delegation held talks with officials from various US departments, including the state department, the department of agriculture, the department of labour, the US Agency for International Development, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, led by assistant US trade representative Mark Linscott. The TPA, enforced in 2015 and to continue until 2025, offers duty free access to 77 Nepali products, including certain carpets and pashmina, headgear, shawls, scarves and travel goods.
Nepal pushed for garments in particular, citing the high comparative advantage, and sought US support regarding exports until the country fully completes its political transition, Ghimire said. The United States had been denying providing duty free benefits to Nepali garments saying that could violate a World Trade Organisation (WTO) clause.
The US officials also expressed interest to offer technical support to Nepal to promote production of the goods under TPA lists. The US officials, however, expressed concern over the investment environment in Nepal and policy reforms at a time when Nepal is are heading towards political stability. Nepal signed the TIFA with the United States on April 16, 2011.