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Garment body asks govt to push for duty-free access to US
Sep '11
Garment Association - Nepal (GAN), the main body representing Nepali apparel manufacturers and exporters, has asked the Government to push for duty-free access of Nepali garments to the US, during the Trade Investment and Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks scheduled to be held in December 2011.

GAN has submitted an eight-point suggestion to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, asking the Government to utilize the bilateral TIFA forum to get Nepali products included in the list of the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and to boost the US investment in Nepal.

It has also asked the Government to lobby during the Secretary-level talks for getting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to enhance Nepali exports to the US.

Nepal's exports to the US have been decreasing since 2004, when the US ended duty-free and quota-free facilities to Nepali garments. Hence, GAN has put forward some suggestions to enable the Government to take some action to increase export of Nepali goods, especially garments, to the US.

“The first suggestion is to promote exports from Nepal to the US and in turn promote investment from US to Nepal,” Mr. Uday Raj Pandey, President of Garment Association – Nepal, told Fibre2fashion.

“Secondly,” Mr. Pandey said, “although Nepal is a LDC, it does not enjoy complete GSP facility in the US. Nepali garments and Pashmina still attract duty in the US, and we have asked the Government to take up the issue of making these items included in the GSP.”

He informed that GAN had filed an application to the US about a year ago to include 11 Nepali items in the GSP. “We have asked the Government to follow-up on the application which was directly sent to the Senate,” he added.

“In case the Government is unable to get the GSP tag for Nepali garments and Pashmina, then we have suggested it to enter into a bilateral trade agreement with the US to get duty free access,” he elaborated.

“Garments are one of the major export items of Nepal and their exports have been declining for the last few years. So, in the event of either a duty-free access or GSP facility to garments and Pashmina, Nepal can earn more foreign exchange, and it will result in generation of employment and also save the country's ailing garment industry,” GAN President said.

Carpets and handicrafts, the other major export items of Nepal, already enjoy a duty-free access to the US markets.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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