The United States (US) has approved a legislation to provide duty-free access to up to 66 types of Nepali products to the American market. According to a press release posted on the website of the US embassy in Katmandu, US President Barak Obama on February 24 signed the Nepal Trade Preferences Legislation which authorizes special trade preferences for Nepal that will grant duty-free tariff benefits for products including certain carpets, headgear, shawls, scarves, and travel goods.
The release further said that these products will get a duty-free access to the US markets for the next 10 years, adding that the program is designed to help Nepal’s economic recovery from the earthquakes that struck the country last year.
“The program will grant duty-free tariff benefits for Nepali exports not currently eligible for benefits under the General System of Preferences (GSP). The Nepal Trade Preferences Legislation also authorizes a trade capacity building program, focused on helping Nepal implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).,” said the release.
“This is a tremendous opporuntity for Nepali business to expand their imports to US markets,” the release quoted US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz as saying. “We look forward to learning more about Nepal’s plans for implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Program and how the United States Government can contribute to this goal.”
According to the release, for the new trade preference program to go into effect, certain administrative steps need to be completed in the United States. First, the President must certify that Nepal meets the eligibility requirements of the program, which are the same as those for African Growth and Opportunity Act countries.
The U.S. International Trade Commission will also need to review the products covered by the preference program to ensure that an increase in imports of these products into the U.S. market will not negatively affect the U.S. economy. These statutorily-required reviews will take several months to complete.