News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:
October 2018

SASEC Microhydro Project Nears Completion in Nepal

The Simrutu River Small Hydropower Project, a micro-hydropower plant developed under the SASEC Program, is nearing completion in Rukum District, Nepal. The power plant will produce 200 kilowatts of electricity for rural communities and will be the largest hydropower project in the district once completed. The project is partially financed by the Asian Development Bank.

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Tags: ADB, Energy, Hydropower, Nepal, SASEC

October 2018

New SASEC Highway Project in Nepal to Strengthen Regional Connectivity, Growth, and Trade

A new project to improve Nepal’s East-West Highway is set to strengthen regional connectivity, promote growth and trade, and improve road safety. An 87-kilometer section of the East-West Highway, also known as the Mahendra Highway, will be widened to four lanes and will be improved to include a center median, service lanes in populated areas, and a drainage system.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Regional Cooperation, Road, SASEC, Trade, Transport

September 2018

India-Nepal Meeting on Energy Cooperation Discusses Potential LPG and LNG Pipelines

Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, and Mr. Matrika Prasad Yadav, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply, Government of Nepal, held a bilateral meeting to discuss strengthening of energy and economic ties between the two countries. Both ministers agreed to explore potential pipelines for LPG and LNG to supply fertilizer plants and industries in Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Energy, LNG, LPG

September 2018

Nepal Experts Study India's Inland Waterways

A team of technical experts from Nepal undertook an official visit to India to (i) study India’s inland waterway infrastructures in consideration of Nepal's needs, and (ii) hold discussions with their counterparts in India. This field visit follows the meeting between Indian and Nepalese government officials held in July 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade, Transport, Shipping

September 2018

Bus Services Linking Bihar and Kathmandu Launched

The bus service connecting Bihar, India, to Nepal, was flagged off by Mr. Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar, India. Two routes have started running beginning 13 September: (i) Bodh Gaya in Bihar to Kathmandu, Nepal, and (ii) Patna, Bihar to Kathmandu, via Janakpur, Nepal. The service aims to promote tourism between the two countries, and further strengthen India-Nepal relations.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Connectivity

August 2018

India, Nepal Exchange MoU on the Raxaul-Kathmandu Railway Survey

The Governments of India and Nepal exchanged the memorandum of understanding on preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey on the broad gauge line between Raxaul, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal on the sidelines of the fourth BIMSTEC Summit. The meeting between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli also reviewed India-Nepal relations, discussing ways to further deepen bilateral economic, trade, and cultural ties, and connectivity.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Connectivity

August 2018

Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister Oli to Take Energy Cooperation to the Next Level

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli agreed to take Bangladesh-Nepal cooperation in the energy sector to the next level. Mr. Ihsanul Karim, Bangladesh Press Secretary, reported that the two Prime Ministers discussed enhancing cooperation in the power sector, and agreed on the need to sign a memorandum of understanding to enable power trade.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BIMSTEC, Energy

August 2018

Birgunj Inland Container Depot to Get Upgraded Warehouses for Dusty Cargo

The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) is upgrading the inland container depot in Birgunj, Nepal, to give it the capacity to handle dusty cargo, such as cement clinker and fly ash. NITDB is also planning to develop railway tracks to be linked directly to the new warehouses.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Rail, Logistics

August 2018

Indian Hydropower Firm to Sign Power Purchase Agreement with Bangladesh

India’s GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Ltd. is set to sign a power purchase agreement with the Bangladesh government to export electricity to be generated by the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project in Nepal. The agreement will serve as a guiding framework for Nepal for exporting surplus electricity to Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Energy, Electricity

August 2018

Indian Railways Conducts Trial Run from Jainagar to Khajuri Railway Stations

The Indian Railways successfully conducted a trial run from Jainagar (India) to Khajuri (Nepal) railway stations, using a cargo train carrying 5,000 tons of ballast. The 8.5 kilometer stretch is part of the Jainagar (India)-Janakpur (Nepal) broad gauge railway link being constructed to improve connectivity between India and Nepal.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Connectivity

July 2018

MoU to boost Myanmar-Nepal Bilateral Consultation Signed

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Myanmar and Nepal have signed an MoU establishing a bilateral consultation mechanism. The first meeting reviewed Myanmar-Nepal relations, and discussed how to further boost cooperation between the two nations.

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Tags: Myanmar, Nepal, Cooperation, Trade, Investment

July 2018

6th Meeting of India-Nepal Oversight Mechanism Held

The 6th Meeting of India-Nepal Oversight Mechanism reviewed progress of ongoing bilateral projects between India and Nepal. This included cross-border rail projects, integrated check posts, Terai roads project, cross-border transmission lines, and the Arun-III hydropower project. The Meeting discussed measures to be undertaken by specific Government agencies to achieve early or on-time completion of projects within the specified time frame.

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Tags: India, Nepal

July 2018

Nepal's Dry Port Sees Growth in Imports

Nepal's third country imports is growing with more importers tapping railway cargo for transport, according to data from Nepal's Dry Port Customs Office. The Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj accommodated 25% more import cargo in Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The Sirsiya Dry Port is close to the Indian border, with links to the Raxaul railway junction. It is the first and only rail-linked terminal in Nepal that facilitates third-country trade through India.

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Tags: Nepal, Rail

July 2018

Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations Finalizes Report

The Eminent Persons' Group on Nepal-India relations has finalized its report, with recommendations on updating bilateral treaties and agreements between India and Nepal, in line with the present reality of the two countries. The recommendations concern trade, commerce, water resource, people-to-people contact and cultural ties. The joint report, prepared in consensus by representatives of the two nations, lays a strong groundwork for furthering India-Nepal relations.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade

July 2018

Bilateral Meeting Focuses on Implementation of India-Nepal Cross-border Rail Links

The Governments of India and Nepal convened the 6th Meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the Implementation of India-Nepal Cross Border Rail Link Projects. The Meeting highlighted the early finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding for the preliminary engineering/traffic survey of the Raxaul (India)-Kathmandu (Nepal) rail line.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail

June 2018

SASEC Countries to Gain by Improving Transport Times

By investing in infrastructure that improves connectivity and reduces transport times to key markets, South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries could reap major benefits, a new Asian Development Bank study says.

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Tags: SASEC, ADB, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, World Bank

June 2018

Commentary: Opening up Nepal-India Skies

Establishing an additional air route via Nepal will help reduce congestion and enhance air traffic safety in the region. In this commentary, Mr. Tri Ratna Manandhar, former Director General of Civil Aviation Authority, Nepal, discusses how India and Nepal could work together to implement the Himalaya Route.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

May 2018

Bangladesh-Nepal Commerce Secretary Meeting Agrees on Measures to Boost Trade, Transit, and Economic Cooperation

The fourth Bangladesh-Nepal Commerce Secretary Meeting on Trade, Transit, and Economic Cooperation focused on enhancing bilateral trade and narrowing the trade imbalance between the two nations. The delegations agreed to prioritize reviewing the operational modality for transit cargo, committed concluding the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and agreed to review non-tariff barriers hindering growth of Nepal's key export products to Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Trade, Transit, Economic cooperation

May 2018

Nepal Eminent Persons' Group Seeks to Further Boost Vizag Port Trade Efficiency

A delegation of Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) members from Nepal visited the Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port on 24 May 2018. The team met with Mr. Movva Tirumala Krishna Babu, Chairman, Vizag Port Trust. The Meeting recommended measures to boost efficiency of cargo shipment from Vizag port to Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade, Transit, Hydropower, Cooperation

May 2018

Myanmar Seeks to Increase Export Volume to Nepal

The Governments of Myanmar and Nepal are planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to boost their economic ties and increase trade. According to Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe, Myanmar is seeking to increase its export volume to Nepal. Demand for imported beans and pulses from Myanmar is on the rise in Nepal.

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Tags: Myanmar, Nepal, Bilateral Trade

May 2018

Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs Emphasize Need to Address Trade and Transport Issues

The 9th Annual Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) on Trade and Transport was held to discussed key issues in transport, transit cooperation, trade, and trade facilitation among LLDCs. Bhutan and Nepal sent delegations to the Meeting. They highlighted initiatives being taken to connect their countries to the global market, including bilateral agreements in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and the SASEC Trade Facilitation Program.

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Tags: Trade, Trade Facilitation, Sustainable Development Goals, Cooperation, Connectivity, Bilateral Agreement, Bilateral Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, SASEC, India, Transport, Ports, Customs, Roads, Single Window

May 2018

Case Study: Removing Roadblocks to Trade

This case study reviews how the Subregional Transport Facilitation Project removed roadblocks to Nepal's trade. The project, approved in 4 November 2004 and completed in 21 September 2010, made flow of import and export goods to Nepal easier, faster, and smoother. Learn how the project lowered the cost of capital for cargo in Nepal by 12% annually, making the country better connected to the subregional economy.

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Tags: Transport, SASEC, ADB, Nepal, Customs

May 2018

BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation Holds First Meeting

The BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation held its first meeting on 10-11 May 2018 in New Dehi, India. The Meeting discussed progress in customs cooperation among BIMSTEC countries, and finalized the draft text of the 'Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters' for the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Customs, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trade

May 2018

Government of India to Develop India-Bhutan Railway Connectivity

The Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India is reviewing feasibility studies for potential railway linkages between India and Bhutan. The studies conducted by the Northeast Frontier Railway include five possible routes.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Transport, Rail, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal

May 2018

Double Rail Track Project in Bangladesh to Increase Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council of the Government of Bangladesh approved the double laning of the railway track from Khulna to Darshana. Darshana, a rail transit point, lies on the Bangladesh-India border. Spanning around 217 kilometers, the double rail line will establish rail connectivity with India, with links toward Bhutan and Nepal. It will also provide access to Mongla Port.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Nepal, Rail, Transport

April 2018

India, Nepal Review Trade and Transit Treaties

The Governments of India and Nepal held an India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Committee Meeting on Trade, Transit, and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade, led by Commerce Secretaries of the two Governments. They discussed bilateral trade, transit, and economic relations, and agreed to conclude measures to further improve bilateral trade and investment ties.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Transit, Inland waterways, Standards Harmonization

April 2018

Railway Transit for Cargo Bound for Biratnagar, Nepal via Jogbani, India

The Government of India launched the test phase for railway movement of goods entering Nepal via the Biratnagar check post. The Container Corporation of India began carrying freight bound for Jogbani in Bihar, the nearest rail station to Biratnagar, on 25 April 2018. This development follows implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system.

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Tags: Rail, India, Nepal, Electronic Cargo Tracking System, SASEC

April 2018

Bangladesh-India-Nepal Conduct Trial Run for Bus Service

Bangladesh, India, and Nepal conducted a trial bus service run on 24-25 April 2018. Two buses left Dhaka, Bangladesh, for Kathmandu, Nepal, carrying delegates from the three countries and the ADB. The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement enables the bus service.

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Tags: Bangladesh, BBIN, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport

April 2018

Nepal Secures More Oil Tankers from India

Around 375 oil tankers bringing in fuel to Nepal from Indian Oil Corporation depots in Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, and Banthara, to the Nepalgunj and Bhairawa border points will be required to install a security locking system to eliminate pilferage in transit, shared Nepal Oil Corporation spokesperson Mr. Birendra Kumar Goit.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

April 2018

Bilateral Talk Held by Nepal Minister of Foreign Affairs and People’s Republic of China State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal, and Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China (PRC), held official bilateral talks during Mr. Gyawali’s official visit to PRC. The Meeting discussed speedy implementation of all agreements and understandings, and establishment of a coordination and implementation mechanism to assist in the effective implementation of PRC-supported projects in Nepal.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade, People's Republic of China

April 2018

Commentary: Let's Set Sail

This commentary by Ms. Dikshya Singh, Research Officer at South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, puts forward that the decision to connect India and Nepal via inland waterways is a "landmark decision" that is worth pursuing. While modalities have yet to be set by the two Governments, the option to connect Nepal to India's waterways promises to further boost Nepal's trade facilitation and make India's inland waterways infrastructure project more financially viable.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Transport, Connectivity

April 2018

India Prime Minister Modi and Nepal Prime Minister Oli Inaugurate ICP, Issue Joint Statements

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli emphasized the high importance Nepal places upon its relationship with India, and Nepal's desire to further strengthen this bilateral partnership, in a meeting with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Oli visited India on 6-8 April 2018, upon the invitation of India’s Prime Minister. The two Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Birgunj, Nepal, and issued three joint statements of cooperation.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Connectivity, Trade

April 2018

Inland Waterway Connectivity to be developed between India and Nepal

India and Nepal are set to develop the inland waterway linkage between their countries to promote efficient and more cost effective movement of goods. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli issued a joint statement on forging this new route—which will also open additional sea access to landlocked Nepal—between the two countries on 7 April 2018, during Prime Minister Oli's state visit to India.

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Tags: Connectivity, India, Inland waterways, Nepal, LLDC

April 2018

India and Nepal to be Linked by Railway

India and Nepal are set to be linked by rail with the agreement by the Governments of both countries to connect Raxaul, a border city in India, to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city, by rail. Preparatory survey work will be conducted by the Government of India, in consultation with the Government of Nepal, for a new electrified rail line within one year.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Rail, Connectivity, Act East Policy, Transport

March 2018

BBIN Initiative for Boosting Bus Service in the Subregion; Sets Dhaka-Kathmandu Trial Run

Selected commercial and personal vehicles, including a passenger bus service, will join a trial run from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Kathmandu, Nepal on 23-26 April 2018. The route will pass through the Banglabandha (Bangladesh)-Phulbari (India) border and through Panitanki (India)-Kakarbhitta (Nepal) border. Senior officials of the governments of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have agreed to operate more cargo and passenger buses along key routes in the region to enhance connectivity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Transport

March 2018

Nepal to Propose Finalization of Transshipment Modality with India in Upcoming IGC Meeting

The Government of Nepal is aiming to finalize the transshipment modality with the Government of India for its third country trade. It will be part of the agenda in the upcoming Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) meeting in April in Pokhara, Nepal, headed by India and Nepal commerce secretaries.

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Tags: Nepal, India, ADB, Transport, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

March 2018

Expansion Work Underway to Increase Kolkata Port Capacity

The Kolkata Port Trust is working to increase the port’s capacity, ease congestion, and reduce paperwork requirements for traders. The port, which handles most of Nepal’s third-country trade, is improving its physical infrastructure and cargo handling system.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Ports, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

March 2018

ICP Construction in Nepalgunj Begins

The Government of India has appointed a contractor to build the integrated check post (ICP) in Nepalgunj, Nepal, on the India-Nepal border. Timeline set for building and completion is two years. The ICP on the Nepalgunj-Rupaidiha (India) border would facilitate improved cross-border connectivity.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

March 2018

Commentary: More Power to Nepal-Bangladesh Ties

As Bangladesh's economy expands, its demand for energy also increases. The Bangladesh National Conservation Strategy projects that by 2030, the country's electricity demand will reach around 34,000 megawatts. In this commentary, Mr. Promod Rijal, senior economist at the Institute for Integrated Development Studies in Nepal, explains how transboundary energy trade between Bangladesh and Nepal through India will help Bangladesh meet its energy needs.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Energy, Trade, BBIN

February 2018

Video: Towards a Borderless World

This video showcases how innovations for trade facilitation have enabled businesses in the BBIN subregion to tap into regional value chains and flourish globally. More developments in facilitating trade and enhancing connectivity are planned and underway to help boost trade, enhance regional integration, and promote economic opportunities.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

February 2018

Bangladesh’s National Economic Council Gives Green Light to Establish Rail Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Government of Bangladesh plans to convert around 67 kilometers of meter-gauge rail line into dual gauge to establish railway connectivity with Bhutan, India, and Nepal. This move could help boost trade among the three countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Rail, Transport

February 2018

Interview: Better Quality and Competitive Prices to Help Bangladesh Grab Nepal Market

Bangladesh is looking to expand the market share of its goods in Nepal. Ms. Mashfee Binte Shams, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Nepal, reviews the opportunities for Bangladesh manufacturers and explains what her country is doing to promote its products in Nepal. This interview of Ms. Shams, conducted by Ibrahim Hossain Ovi, first appeared on Dhaka Tribune.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Exports, Imports, Trade Facilitation

February 2018

Eminent Persons Group Drafting New Blueprint for India-Nepal Relations

Eminent Persons Group including representatives from both India and Nepal exchanged the first draft reports on future India-Nepal relations during their seventh meeting in Kathmandu on 24 February 2018. It is likely that they will produce one joint final report during the next meeting in New Delhi that will be submitted to both governments before the group’s term expires in July.

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Tags: Connectivity, India, Nepal, Cooperation, Energy, Hydropower

February 2018

Electricity Transmission in India Could Help Bangladesh Tap Nepal's Hydropower

Bangladesh's interest to harness Nepal's hydropower potential could be a win-win for both countries, with India playing the role of catalyst, shared Mr. Mostofa Sohrab Chowdhury, President, Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bangladesh's projected additional energy demand is 21,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, while Nepal's untapped economically feasible hydropower potential is 42,000 MW.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Cooperation, Energy, Hydropower, Transmission

February 2018

Paperless Trade Proposed for Facilitation of Nepal Trade via Vizag Port

A meeting between the Government of Nepal's Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Visakhapatnam (Vizag) port authorities, and the Government of India discussed the possibility of implementing paperless trade procedures at Vizag port for Nepal’s third country trade. In follow up to this, the Government of Nepal also held a meeting with its stakeholders on 18 February 2018.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Paperless trade, Trade Facilitation, Ports

February 2018

Governments of Nepal and India Prepare to Launch the ECTS Pilot Program

The Governments of Nepal and India are preparing to launch the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) as soon as possible. It received the green light from Nepal's Council of Ministers in January 2018. The planned pilot will run for three months, covering cargo entering Nepal by rail in Birgunj and by road in Biratnagar and Bhairawa. ADB is supporting the piloting of the project through the SASEC Program.

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Tags: Nepal, ADB, SASEC, India, Transit Facilitation, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

February 2018

Nepali Ginger Traders Tap Bangladeshi Market

Exporters from Nepal shipped over 35 truckloads of ginger to Bangladesh between mid-December 2017 to January 2018. This volume of ginger traded by Nepal to Bangladesh is the largest it has exported to a third country in over a decade. The Treaty of Transit between India and Nepal facilitates movement of Nepal's third country trade with and through Bangladesh, via India.

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Tags: Nepal, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation

January 2018

Women Entrepreneurs Look to SAARC Markets

South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF) will promote products by women entrepreneurs in markets in SAARC countries. A Women Entrepreneur International Trade and Technology Hub will be developed in Visakhapatnam, India, with ADB assistance. The Hub will serve as a one-stop platform for women entrepreneurs and provide training on international trade and business.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade

January 2018

Electronic Cargo Tracking System to Help Ease Transit of Nepal-bound Cargo

The Cabinet of Nepal has approved the modality of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS). Following this, Nepal's Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has begun preparations for ECTS implementation with the assistance of ADB. Mr. Ravi Shanker Sainju, Joint Secretary, MoC, is hopeful that the ECTS will help control the turnaround time of shipping line containers, and significantly reduce the delay and cost of trade. He stressed that if Nepal can minimize time consumed in trade, cost of goods.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Electronic Cargo Tracking System, Customs, Trade

December 2017

Power Purchase Agreement between India and Nepal Extended

The power purchase agreement between the Nepal Electricity Authority and the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam of India was extended by three months, from 1 January to end of March 2018. This allows Nepal to import up to 160 megawatts of electricity through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, India

December 2017

India Fast-tracks International Highways in South Asia

India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) will prioritize plans to construct 2,000 kilometers of roads linking India's major highway corridors to international trade points in South Asia. MoRTH Minister Nitin Gadkari highlights that this plan, worth Rs 25,000 crore, will facilitate export/import trade with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. The Ministry also took steps to operationalize the BBIN MVA.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Transport

December 2017

SASEC Project to Increase Capacity of Nepal Transmission Lines

An ADB-funded project is upgrading power lines and substations in 49 locations in Nepal to enhance the country’s electricity distribution system. The $191 million SASEC Power System Expansion Project aims to increase the load-bearing capacity of transmission lines in Nepal.

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, Energy, Nepal

November 2017

Bangladesh Should Increase Energy Production to Achieve SDGs

Experts at the launching of UNCTAD’s The Least Developed Countries Report 2017 urged the Government of Bangladesh to strengthen the country’s electrical system and address electricity governance and finance to ensure affordable power supply to homes and businesses. Despite significant improvements over the past decade, challenges remain, according to the Report.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Energy, LDC, Nepal, Sustainable Development Goals, UNCTAD

November 2017

Nepal to Join BIMSTEC Energy Grid

Nepal has decided to join the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grid interconnection, a move meant to help facilitate trade in electricity and take full advantage of available energy sources. Nepal is expected to sign an MOU to join the grid interconnection at the Third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, BIMSTEC, Energy, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

November 2017

Amending India’s Electricity Act Could Enhance Trade with SAARC Countries

An Asian Development Bank report suggests that a shift in India’s electricity policy could help address the acute electricity shortages faced by SAARC countries, which affects socioeconomic development as well as business operations. Policy amendments could help facilitate cross-border power trade among SAARC countries and give communities better access to electricity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Energy, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade

October 2017

Inland Waterways to Spur BBIN Development

Completion of infrastructure to connect inland waterways of India and Bangladesh could ease movement between the two countries, and make transport of freight to Nepal and Bhutan faster and less expensive. Opening inland waterways would make alternative modes of transport viable and could open up livelihood opportunities, helping facilitate trade in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, according to experts attending a forum on subregional inland waterways.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Poverty Reduction, Sustainable Development Goals, Transport

October 2017

SASEC Program Upgrades to Mobile-Friendly Website with Improved Security

The new-look SASEC website is fully mobile-friendly and automatically adjusts to fit the screen you are using — computer, tablet, or mobile phone—making it a convenient choice for staying in touch with regional cooperation throughout South Asia. SASEC has also updated to HTTPS for enhanced cybersecurity and user privacy.

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Tags: SASEC, ICT, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives

October 2017

India, Bangladesh, Nepal in Talks to Implement BBIN MVA

The Government of India has taken steps to implement the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), coordinating with the Governments of Bangladesh and Nepal through the Ministry of External Affairs to enforce the transport agreement between and among themselves, reported Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Minister, India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Transport

October 2017

SAARC Nations Can Achieve Sustainable Development Goals Together

Ms. Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker, Lok Sabha, India, said South Asian countries need to present a collective front to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking at the Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians, Ms. Majahan stressed the importance of interaction among the parliaments of SAARC countries and said that national parliaments should focus on the SDGs.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Sustainable Development Goals

September 2017

Joint Steering Committee Discusses Additional Electricity Import from India to Bangladesh

The 13th Joint Steering Committee Meeting between Bangladesh and India, held on 27-28 September 2017 in New Delhi, India, reviewed Bangladesh-India power sector cooperation, and explored new areas and opportunities, including the possible 840 megawatt (MW) additional electricity import from India to Bangladesh, and planned Bangladesh hydropower imports from Nepal and Bhutan.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Hydropower, Energy, Nepal, Bhutan

August 2017

BIMSTEC Seeks Stronger Ties and Cooperation

The 18th session of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Senior Officials' Meeting and the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting stressed the importance of cooperation in energy, technology, trade, and transport, through a revitalized, more integrated, and stronger BIMSTEC process. The Joint Statement underscored the need to finalize the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Agreement.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Nepal, Bangladesh, Regional Cooperation, Energy, Technology, Trade, Transport, Free Trade Agreement

July 2017

ADB to Help Nepal Modernize Trade Facilitation

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $21 million loan to support the Government of Nepal’s efforts to simplify, harmonize, and modernize the country’s trade processes, under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation. The program will help the country to promote and diversify exports, and help it fulfill its commitments to international customs standards.

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Tags: ADB, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Nepal

July 2017

Bangladesh to Purchase Hydropower from Nepal

The Government of Bangladesh and India's GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Ltd. are now preparing to sign a power purchase agreement. GMR will be exporting 300 to 500 megawatts (MW) of energy generated by the Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project in Nepal via India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Energy

June 2017

Forum Emphasizes Importance of Cooperation in Regional Initiatives

A forum in Kathmandu, Nepal explored actions that will allow landlocked countries to take advantage of being "land-linked". Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International, underscored the importance of cooperation among the four countries to be able to move forward.

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Tags: Nepal, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Infrastructure

June 2017

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

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Tags: Connectivity, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2017

BBIN Intraregional Trade On the Rise

The International Trade Centre's Trade Map reports an increase in intraregional trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion in 2016, from $21.65 billion in 2015 to $23.52 billion. The ratio of BBIN intraregional trade to world trade went up from 2.98% in 2015 to 3.34% in 2016.

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Tags: BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport, Energy, Trade

June 2017

Commentary: Promise and Flux in South Asian Electricity Trade

The Asia Foundation, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry, is preparing a study on energy trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion, examining how market forces, networks, and stakeholders interact. In this commentary, Mr. Aditya Valiathan Pillai, program officer of the Asia Foundation in India, discusses the creation of an energy market in South Asia and the growing importance of regional electricity trade in helping mitigate carbon emissions.

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Tags: South Asia, BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Energy, Hydropower

June 2017

Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Meet on Promoting Bilateral Trade

The Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Conference 2017 was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, to discuss possible ways to increase bilateral trade between Nepal and Bangladesh. The environment and the economic and business sectors were among the topics tackled at the conference.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BBIN, Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation

June 2017

Electronic Cargo Tracking System to Improve India-Nepal Cargo Traffic and Security

An electronic tracking system will soon ease traffic-in-transit for cargo traveling by road and rail from Kolkata to four major Customs points of Nepal, including the Raxaul route. Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Customs Commissioner, India, and Mr. Rabi Shanker Sainju, Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary, Nepal, signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the tracking system for a trial period of at least 90 days in late 2017.

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Tags: Electronic Cargo Tracking System, ADB, SASEC, Nepal, India, BBIN, Customs, Road, Rail, Transport

May 2017

India Drafts Cross-border Energy Trade Framework

India's Ministry of Power is preparing a set of guidelines for cross-border trade of electricity, with draft regulations from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. This will regulate cross-border energy trade between India and Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, by creating a uniform framework.

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Tags: India, Energy, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal

May 2017

SAARC Finance Ministers Meet in Yokohama, Japan

Finance ministers and senior officials of member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met on 5 May at Yokohama, Japan, at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 50th Annual General Meeting.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Central Asia, Climate Change, Energy, India, Maldives, Nepal, Policy, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, SASEC, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

April 2017

India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact

India's Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the ratification of the MOU for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. The MOU is expected to be signed at the next BIMSTEC Energy Minsters' Meeting and provides a broad framework for energy trade among BIMSTEC member countries.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Connectivity, Energy, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand

April 2017

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Economic Corridor Development, Energy, ICT, India, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Regional Cooperation

March 2017

SASEC Program Is Now on Facebook

SASEC is now on Facebook, connecting followers to the most up-to-date news on regional cooperation in South Asia, SASEC events, project information, and publications that are all featured daily on www.sasec.asia. To follow SASEC on Facebook, simply click here; then click “Like” at the top of the Facebook page.

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Tags: SASEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Regional Cooperation, Trade, Economic cooperation

March 2017

Nepal Government Ministries Urged to Collaborate to Manage Widening Export Gap

Low exports and rising imports are causing exponential growth in Nepal's trade deficit, according to Nepal’s Minister of Commerce, and he urged ministries, agencies, and the private sector to collaborate to bridge Nepal's widening export gap. The Ministry of Commerce has prioritized initiatives to promote Nepal's productive capacity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Trade

March 2017

BIMSTEC Roundtable Stresses Need to Resolve Border-Related Trade Barriers

The Eighth BIMSTEC Roundtable Meeting tackled “Rewriting the Rulebook of Regional Connectivity,” emphasizing the need to resolve border-related trade barriers through coordination of government policies across Asia, including Customs procedures and clearance of goods, to unlock the vibrancy of the Asian Highway and reduce the cost of doing business.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade, Customs, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, ICT, Nepal, Transport, Ease of Doing Business

February 2017

Commentary: An Emergent Urgency for Bangladesh

Good connectivity reduces the cost of doing business and increases the competitive strengths of trading partners. In this commentary, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue, highlights how a sanitary and phytosanitary agreement and an effective Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement would promote South Asian integration and step up Asia-wide cooperation.

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Tags: BBIN, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport, Economic corridor

February 2017

WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Enters into Force

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement came into force after Rwanda, Oman, Chad, and Jordan submitted their instruments of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The submissions bring the total number of ratifications over the 110 required for activation. Members’ trade costs are forecast to lower by 14.3%, with developing countries having the most to gain.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, LDC, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

February 2017

ADB to Increase Support to Nepal to $1.2 Billion

ADB has allocated $843.8 million for Nepal for 2017-2019. An additional $356 million can be made available over the period for projects contributing to regional cooperation and integration and reduction of disaster risks, provided that Nepal continues to improve performance of its ongoing projects, according to Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB. 

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Tags: Nepal, ADB, Regional Cooperation, Infrastructure, Energy

February 2017

ADB to Back Bangladesh Road Connectivity and Energy Trade

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to assist Bangladesh in its efforts to improve transport and energy connectivity. Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB, affirmed that ADB will continue to support Bangladesh in its goal of becoming a developed country by 2041, as well as in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and minimizing climate change impact.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, BBIN, Cooperation, Development, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Energy, Investment, Nepal

February 2017

India, Nepal Bilateral Meeting Discusses Operational Modality of New Transmission Lines

The Governments of India and Nepal discussed how to bring transmission line projects—the Dhalkebar (Nepal)-Muzaffarpur (India) transmission line, Raxaul (India)-Parwanipur (Nepal) transmission line, and Kataiya (India)-Kushaha (Nepal) transmission line—into operation. They agreed to increase the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line to 220 kVa capacity in May 2017, and begin electricity import through the Raxaul-Parwanipur and Kataiya-Kushaha transmission line.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Energy, Transmission, Hydropower, Trade, Electricity

February 2017

Commentary: India Infrastructure: Connecting Bihar

The Ganges flows through the middle of Bihar, India, physically dividing it into north and south. Enhanced connectivity can improve lives and livelihoods, especially if the infrastructure is climate-sensitive. Ms. Saleha Waseem, Operations Communications Specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s South Asia Regional Department, shows how improving transport links would make a huge difference to millions of people.

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Tags: ADB, Agriculture, Bangladesh, Connectivity, Development, Economic corridor, Regional Cooperation, India, Nepal, Road, Services, Transport

February 2017

Cooperation the Best Option for South Asia’s Growing Power Needs

Hydropower cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal could be a viable option for addressing growing power needs in the region, said Mr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, Brac University, Bangladesh. Nepal’s hydropower potential stands at 83,000 megawatts (MW), while Bhutan’s is at 40,000 MW and northeast India’s at 60,000 MW.

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Tags: Hydropower, Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

January 2017

Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism Agrees to Expedite Project Implementation

The second meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism, held on 30 January 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal, reviewed progress of India-funded economic and development projects in Nepal, and agreed to expedite implementation of these projects for timely completion. Projects discussed included cross-border railways, integrated check posts, and cross-border transmission lines.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Transport, Energy

January 2017

Nepal Submits Instrument of Acceptance for Trade Facilitation Agreement

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is getting closer to coming into force after Mr. Deepak Dhital, Nepal’s Ambassador to the WTO, submitted his country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 24 January 2017. Nepal is the 14th least developed country to ratify the TFA, which is expected to help reduce trade costs for WTO member countries.

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Tags: Nepal, Customs, Trade Facilitation

January 2017

Railway Network Linking India and its Neighbors Under Consideration

A railway network linking India and its neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, is being considered by the Government of India, according to India Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Developing railway connectivity will increase employment, interaction, trade, and tourism.

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Tags: India, Rail, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, Employment

January 2017

Report Highlights How Cross-Border Electricity Trade Will Benefit India and Nepal

The Integrated Research and Action for Development initiative has launched the analytical study “Economic Benefits from Nepal-India Electricity Trade,” confirming that a large economically feasible electricity export potential exists. Electricity trade can help boost Nepal's economy and improve the well-being of its people, and offers India an affordable and convenient renewable resource to meet demand.

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Tags: Hydropower, Nepal, India, Energy

January 2017

Davos 2017: Accelerating South Asia's Growth and Development through Regional Cooperation

The interactive session “Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia” held at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum discussed how regional economic cooperation is helping accelerate growth and development. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized continuous initiatives, in economic cooperation in South Asia, including SAFTA and SASEC. India Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman lauded initiatives to boost connectivity.

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Tags: South Asia, Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

January 2017

India to Sign Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods

India is set to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport Convention in its bid to establish seamless trade connectivity with Southeast Asia and Eurasian countries. Through the TIR Convention, India could access Eurasia via the International North-South Transport Corridor. TIR would also give India an advantage in trade with fellow signatories of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Connectivity, Customs, Economic corridor, Harmonization, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Road, Roads, Trade Facilitation, Trade, Transport, BBIN

January 2017

Nepal Prepares to Implement the Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021

Nepal's Department of Customs is set to present the Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan (CRMSAP) 2017-2021 on 26 January 2017, International Customs Day. The CRMSAP 2017-2021 aims to implement provisions of the Revised Kyoto Convention, the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and the Single Window System.

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Tags: Nepal, Customs, Trade Facilitation, Single Window

January 2017

Nepal Parliament Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Nepal’s Parliament ratified the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 13 January 2017, drawing up the instrument of acceptance for the WTO TFA, whose implementation will help expand trade and attract foreign direct investment in Nepal by increasing transparency and effectiveness of the trading process.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Exports, Customs, FDI, LDC, WTO

January 2017

Commentary: Hydro-powering Regional Development in India and Nepal

Transboundary rivers between India and Nepal have huge hydropower and irrigation potential. Developing these rivers can become an engine for regional development, alleviating poverty for millions of people within a reasonable timeframe. With improved relations between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, formulating and implementing sustainable plans to manage these rivers presents a significant win-win opportunity for the subregion.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Hydropower, Kosi River, Sustainability, Poverty Reduction

January 2017

Nepal Customs Officers Undergo Training at NACEN

The National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics (NACEN) held a capacity-building program for 35 Customs Officers from Nepal. The 5-day program discussed various Customs-related topics, including Customs valuation; World Trade Organization provisions; Customs reform; and use of risk management.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Customs, Free Trade Agreement, Risk Management, WTO

January 2017

Nepal Upgrades Hydropower Plant with India’s Help

Nepal has upgraded the Thame Khola Small Hydropower Plant in Namche VDC, Solukhumbu District, raising the plant’s capacity from 630 kilowatts (kW) to 930 kW. India provided assistance of $54,500 for the upgrade. The facility supplies power to the upper Khumbu valley, including 18 villages of Khumjung and Namche VDC.

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Tags: Hydropower, Nepal, India, Energy

December 2016

Commentary: Bhutan and Nepal: Two "Least Developed Nations" that Could Change Face of Asia

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) comprise around 880 million people yet account for less than 2% of the world gross domestic product. South Asian countries can accelerate economic development and graduate from the LDC category by working with each other. The economic future of their people could change radically through collaboration between the countries and lift millions of people out of poverty.

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Tags: Bhutan, Nepal, BBIN, Connectivity, Energy, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade, UNCTAD

December 2016

Regional Workshop Highlights Achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project

A Regional Workshop on the SASEC Research and Training Network was held to assess the results and achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project. The Meeting reviewed project implementation, discussed knowledge products, and summarized project benefits to rural communities. It also proposed ways to facilitate sustainable ICT cooperation among the four countries.

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Tags: ICT, SASEC, ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

December 2016

Commentary: Nepal Hydropower to Bring Economic, Social, and Environmental Benefits

Nepal’s hydropower potential could be realized with an efficient technological base, entrepreneurial vision, a coordinated power trading approach, and sustained investment commitment. Hydropower development would bring economic, social, and environmental benefits in Nepal and the rest of the South Asian region. In this speech delivered at the Power Summit, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal vowed to support domestic and foreign investors through a policy encouraging investment.

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Tags: Development, Energy, Hydropower, India, Investment, Nepal, Private Sector, Regional Cooperation, Trade

December 2016

ADB Strategic Climate Fund Boosts the Nepal SASEC Power System Expansion Project Fund

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional $20 million for the SASEC Power System Expansion Project in Nepal, to be provided by the ADB Strategic Climate Fund. This additional financing will support installation of utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems by 2018. The Government of Nepal is also providing complementary funding of $24.5 million.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, Trade, Hydropower, ADB, SASEC, Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, Solar Energy, India

December 2016

4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Central Board of Excise and Customs organized the 4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting in New Delhi, India, as part of its Founding Day celebrations. The Heads of Customs Enforcement from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Maldives were invited to participate in the said Meeting, which discussed issues of mutual concern, noted the need to share information and activate channels of coordination.

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Tags: Customs, Trade Facilitation, South Asia, Regional Cooperation, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Trade

December 2016

SASEC Portfolio Tops $9 billion

The SASEC project portfolio has surpassed the $9 billion mark with the December 2016 approval of Nepal’s SASEC Roads Improvement Project, worth $256.5 million. There are now 44 SASEC investment projects worth a cumulative $9.13 billion. During 2016, seven projects have been approved for a total of $2.37 billion.

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Tags: SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport, Roads, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ICT, Rail, Economic corridor, Connectivity

December 2016

SASEC Roads Improvement Project to Boost Nepal's Transport Connectivity and Export Competitiveness

The Asian Development Bank has approved a loan for $187 million to Nepal for the SASEC Roads Improvement Project, which will upgrade transport connectivity and bring transformational gains by making social services more accessible, opening up previously untapped economic opportunities, and supporting trade between Nepal and India.

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Tags: SASEC, Transport, Nepal, Connectivity, ADB, Services, Trade

November 2016

Nepal's Third Country Trade through Vizag Port Moves Forward

A notification for moving export and import cargo to and from Nepal through Visakhapatnam (Vizag) Port in Andhra Pradesh, India, was issued by the Nepal Department of Customs. This follows the go-ahead given by the Central Bank of Nepal to issue letters of credit to clients using Vizag Port to bring in trade. Furthermore, the Government of Nepal is considering establishing a consulate in Andhra Pradesh to ensure more efficient utilization of Vizag Port.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade Facilitation, Ports, Imports, Exports, LLDC

November 2016

Bangladesh-Nepal Road Route Survey to be Held in December

Government officials of Bangladesh and Nepal will conduct a joint survey on a potential road route under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA), starting from5 December 2016. It will check road conditions, length of travel, and necessary infrastructure to ensure seamless movement of vehicles.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport

November 2016

Online Alert System for SPS/TBT Notifications Launched

EPing, an online alert system for updates on the latest information on regulatory requirements for international trade, was launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Trade Organization, and the International Trade Centre. The system enables access to WTO member notifications on TBT and SPS measures, and facilitates dialogue among the public and private sector in the early stages of potential trade issues.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary, Trade, WTO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

November 2016

SASEC Operational Plan Launched in Nepal

The SASEC Operational Plan, which aligns and brings together all SASEC sectoral strategies, was launched in Kathmandu, Nepal. With 37 of the 200 planned projects set to be implemented in Nepal, the Government’s policy reform efforts to integrate with global markets is set to receive a significant boost.

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Tags: Nepal, SASEC Operational Plan, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy

November 2016

Conference Highlights Deepening Economic Integration, Boosting Connectivity in South Asia

Nepal Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat urged conclusion of the SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment to deepen economic integration among South Asian countries, and emphasized the need to improve connectivity in the region at the inauguration of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the South Asian Network of Economic Research.

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Tags: SAARC, Transport, Rail, Road, Investment, Investments, Nepal

October 2016

India-Nepal Panel Formed to Implement Bilateral Projects

A high-level panel formed by the Governments of India and Nepal will work to address bottlenecks in infrastructure projects in Nepal funded by the Government of India—including hydropower projects, roads and railways—to ensure their timely completion.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Transport, Energy

October 2016

Power Trade to Help South Asian Countries Save $9 Billion Annually, Reduce Emissions

South Asian countries should engage more in regional energy trade and joint management of resources. By doing so, they could save over $9 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 8%. And since energy drives development, energy cooperation and trade is expected to translate to improved standards of living and poverty reduction.

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Tags: Energy, Hydropower, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

October 2016

Bangladesh and Nepal Prime Ministers Keen on Hastening South Asian Integration

Bangladesh and Nepal officials have emphasized the need to both hasten and deepen integration among South Asian countries through the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the region must work to finalize BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement deals to boost trade in the region. Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal stated that BIMSTEC can be a dynamic engine for growth and development.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BIMSTEC, Regional Cooperation, Free Trade Agreement

October 2016

Nepal Commerce Minister Stresses Implementation of BIMSTEC FTA, BTILS

Mr. Romi Gauchan Thakali, Minister for Commerce, Nepal, emphasized the need to finalize and implement the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Free Trade Area (FTA) Framework Agreement, to help boost growth among least developed and developing nations in South and Southeast Asia. He also highlighted implementation of the BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistics Study.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade, Nepal, Transport

October 2016

Bangladesh and Nepal to Undertake Joint Hydropower Investments

The Governments of Bangladesh and Nepal have agreed to undertake joint investments in hydropower plants in Nepal, to generate electricity, including energy exports to Bangladesh. The two countries signed a deal to set up two hydropower plants capable of generating 1,500 megawatts.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Energy, Nepal

October 2016

Commentary: The Case for Stronger Ties in South Asia

In recent years, countries in South Asia have shown increasing commitment to deepening regional cooperation through bilateral agreements and regional initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement. This commentary by Ms. Nahela Nowshin of the Centre for Policy Dialogue discusses the importance of regional initiatives in South Asia, as well as the need to promote dialogue on matters of regional cooperation and connectivity.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

October 2016

Simplified Customs Process to Benefit Emerging Domestic Brands

A new Customs inspection and verification procedure is changing how trade is conducted among South Asian countries. Through the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement, cargo and passenger vehicles may now pass through the four countries more smoothly. The simplified process greatly benefits apparel-centric economies, making South Asia more competitive for both global and domestic brands.

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Tags: BBIN, Customs, Trade Facilitation, Garments, Imports, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Bangladesh, India, Nepal

October 2016

ADB Advances Harmonization of SPS/TBT Measures in the SASEC Subregion

The Asian Development Bank is helping countries in the SASEC subregion harmonize two technical non-tariff measures, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), to enhance intraregional trade. Under this initiative, a national diagnostic study on SPS and TBT will be conducted in the six SASEC member countries, to be led by core committees formed by the six governments, in consultation with trade experts.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Non-tariff Measures, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal

September 2016

SASEC Countries Gear Up for Greater Economic Cooperation

The six member countries of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program have launched the SASEC Operational Plan for 2016-2025. The plan expands the program’s focus beyond intraregional cooperation to deepening linkages with Southeast and East Asia, and widens the scope of transport, trade facilitation, and energy cooperation to include economic corridor development as a priority initiative. The plan also lists more than 200 potential regional projects for South Asia.

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, Economic corridor, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

September 2016

Nepal Trade Portal Launched to Support Nepal Trade and Investment

The Government of Nepal launched the Nepal Trade Portal, a one-stop shop for official information on trade procedures and requirements for Nepali business. Featuring essential information for traders, the online portal aims to improve the way trade and business is conducted, and to facilitate cross-border trade by providing easy access to legal documents, forms and procedures in both English and Nepali.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Exports, Imports

September 2016

13th SAARC Trade Fair Held in Thimphu

The 13th SAARC trade fair was held in Thimphu, Bhutan, to promote intra-regional trade and investment among SAARC countries. In his opening address, Mr. Lekey Dorji, Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister, underscored the importance of fostering business links among companies in the region to accelerate economic growth and improve people's well-being.

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Tags: SAARC, Trade, South Asia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka

September 2016

Nepal Parliament Ratifies Protocol of Amendments to the Revised Kyoto Convention

The Nepal Parliament ratified the Protocol of Amendments to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedure (Revised Kyoto Convention) on 9 September 2016, tabled by Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The ratification is expected to boost the capacity of Nepal Customs to facilitate trade.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Customs

September 2016

Seminar Emphasizes Need to Attract More FDI for Nepal's Hydropower Sector

A 'Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Hydropower' forum in Kathmandu, Nepal stressed the need for more FDI in hydropower projects. According to Nepal Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma, Nepal needs more investment to be able to fully harness its hydropower capacity. The Power Trade Agreement signed by Nepal and India promises a huge market for Nepal's hydroelectricity.

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Tags: Nepal, Investment, Hydropower, Energy, India, Exports

September 2016

Second BBIN Trial Run Demonstrates Benefits of BBIN MVA

A new chapter in trade relations and people-to-people contact between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) began on 5 September 2016, as a Bangladeshi cargo truck rolled into the Customs Inland Container Depot, Patparganj, Delhi. Though the vehicle entered India through Petrapole Land Customs Station, Customs clearance was done at the ICD, Patparganj, as part of a trial run of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

September 2016

SAARC Ministers Push for Economic Union

Finance Ministers from the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member states are pushing for the formation of a South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) to ensure larger inflow of investments, higher trade volumes, and energy generation. The ministers highlighted the need to fast-track the formation of the SAEU to help boost the inflow of investments and trade volumes.

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Tags: SAEU, SAARC, Trade, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal

August 2016

SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation Endorsed by Nepal Parliament

The Parliament of Nepal has endorsed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation, enabling the 8 SAARC member countries to conduct cross-border electricity trade. Under the Agreement, SAARC member states have agreed to provide non-discriminatory access to the regional transmission grids.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, SAARC

August 2016

SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Trade, Taxation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting focused on improving trade relations among member nations. Discussions revolved around economic issues, Customs unions, avoidance of double taxation, improving connectivity, increasing trade volume, and developing supply chain linkages.

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Tags: SAARC, India, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Connectivity, Customs, SASEC, Trade

August 2016

BBIN MVA to Boost Infrastructure Development in the Subregion

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) is set to boost infrastructure development in the BBIN subregion. Bangladesh will see significant increase in cargo movement, enabling India to access its Northeast region, and helping facilitate third-country trade of landlocked Bhutan and Nepal. However, major investments in infrastructure are needed to maximize Bangladesh’s potential to become a transport and transshipment hub.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

August 2016

Nepal Energy Ministry Advances Preparation for Nepal-Bangladesh Energy Cooperation

Preparations to sign a power trade agreement between the Governments of Nepal and Bangladesh are underway, with the Energy Ministry of Nepal finalizing a draft memorandum of understanding on Nepal-Bangladesh energy cooperation. The draft outlines protocols for conducting energy trade between the two countries, in line with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Energy, SAARC

August 2016

India Begins Operations on the Varanasi-Haldia River Route

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Shipping Minister, India, led the inauguration of the Varanasi-Haldia inland waterway route, laying the foundation stone for an inland waterway terminal, and flagging off a trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi to Haldia Port near Kolkata, a route that touches Nepal’s two major rivers—Koshi and Gandaki.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport

August 2016

Banglabandha Land Port Improvement to Support Rising Bangladesh-Nepal Trade

The Ministry of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh, has ordered upgrading of the Banglabandha Land Port to cater to rising trade with Nepal. This includes improving and building new loading and unloading sheds, and other needed infrastructure, such as warehouses, vehicle parking, and the road leading to the port.

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Tags: Shipping, Bangladesh, Nepal, Transport, BBIN

August 2016

Visakhapatnam Port Getting Ready for Nepal's Third Country Trade

Nepal private sector representatives, including members of the Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Nepal Freight Forwarders' Association, and India port authorities from Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, met to discuss measures needed to bring India's Visakhapatnam Port into full-fledged operation for Nepal's third country trade, and simplifying clearing processes for Nepal-bound cargoes.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

July 2016

Nepal Freight Forwarders Urge Early Operationalization of Vizag Port

Freight forwarders in Nepal have urged early operationalization of the Vizag Port in India as an alternative port for Nepal trade. According to the Nepal Freight Forwarders Association, ocean freight costs, Customs house agent charges, and other logistic costs can be reduced by directing trade through Vizag Port.

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Tags: Nepal, Shipping, Trade Facilitation

July 2016

SASEC Investment Projects Top $7.7 Billion

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) investment projects increased to a cumulative $7.66 billion in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and ICT with the recent approval of India’s Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project. To date, 40 SASEC-supported projects are helping member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. In addition, there are now 71 technical assistance projects worth $66.14 mi

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Tags: SASEC, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, South Asia, ADB, ICT, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Economic Corridor Development

July 2016

Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister: BBIN MVA May Start in December

Implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) may start in December, according to Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, while speaking at a closing ceremony of a drivers' training on road safety.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

July 2016

Investment Board Nepal Endorses Energy Demand and Supply Study

The 24th meeting of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) endorsed the "National Energy Demand and Supply Study," which was undertaken to address the issue of latent demand and come up with a more realistic demand forecast for energy. According to the study, Nepal's energy demand will reach around 10,000 megawatts by 2030. Electricity will also have a dominant share of energy in Nepali households.

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Tags: Energy, Trade, Nepal

July 2016

India's National Green Tribunal Approves Delhi-Kathmandu Bus Service

India's National Green Tribunal has approved registration of a Delhi-Kathmandu bus service by the Delhi Transport Corporation, offering transit between select destinations in India and Nepal. The bus service was launched to further enhance economic ties between the two countries

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

July 2016

Commentary: 800 Million Reasons

Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, describes how partnership of 6 South Asian countries through the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program is helping propel economic growth in South Asia, amidst an uncertain regional and global economic climate, by working to increase trade volumes to reduce the number of impoverished people in the region.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Blog: Is South Asia ready for a Regional Motor Vehicles Agreement?

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) meant to allow smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories. In this blog post, Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, South Asia Regional Integration, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank, asks if South Asia is truly ready for such a regional agreement.

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Tags: South Asia, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

June 2016

ADB Blog: Why We Should Be Happy When SASEC Customs Officials Talk More

Meetings between Customs officials from SASEC member countries reaps benefits for the SASEC subregion and beyond, providing a platform for officers to decide the next steps in improving cross-border coordination and cooperation to resolve bottlenecks for trade at the borders. An Asian Development Bank (ADB) blog post by Ms. Rose McKenzie, Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, ADB, is shared.

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Tags: Customs, Trade Facilitation, Regional Cooperation, ICT, BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal

June 2016

Planned Longest River Bridge in India to Link to Nepal, Could Benefit 9 Million People

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $500-million loan to build a bridge across the Ganges River that will link India and Nepal. The 9.8-kilometer bridge will be India’s longest river bridge and will help people move between jobs and markets. It is projected to benefit 9 million people, especially those in poorer communities.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

June 2016

Speech: The Future of Energy Demand

Greatly increased energy consumption is powering economic transformation in Asia and the Pacific, but also contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions. The devastating effects of climate change are already being felt in the region. In this speech delivered at the Pacific Energy Summit on 24 June 2016 in Singapore, Bambang Susantono, Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank, looks at the challenges faced by Asia’s growing economies a

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Tags: ADB, Energy, Hydropower, Climate Change, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2016

India to Begin Work on Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project

India is set to begin work on the Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project, which is expected to become the longest river bridge in India at 9.8 kilometers (km). The road bridge spanning the Ganges River will improve transport connectivity between north and south Bihar, India, and enhance the existing road corridors between India and Nepal. ADB is providing $500 million for the project and $900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Road, Bridge

June 2016

Visakhapatnam Port Inaugurated as Nepal's Second Gateway Port

Cargo bound for Nepal was flagged off symbolically from Visakhapatnam Port in India on 24 June 2016, signaling to traders that the port is ready to facilitate exports and imports as Nepal's second gateway port. A delegation from Nepal is in Visakhapatnam to see through implementation of the agreement and discuss modalities of cargo transit with Customs officials from India.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

ADB Blog: High Hopes for BBIN Vehicle Agreement, One Year On

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement is a landmark framework agreement signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries last June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan. Mr. Ronald Butiong, Director, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB), describes how it is paving the way for a more integrated and more prosperous South Asian region in an ADB blog entry.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2016

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Look Into Setting up Trade Portals

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have expressed interest in adopting best practices of the Indian Trade Portal in setting up their own trade portals to promote international trade. Trade portals to be set up by Bhutan and Nepal will also be useful for cargo being routed through India, and will contribute to the common documentation system needed to implement the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Portal, Trade Facilitation, SASEC, Customs, Trade

June 2016

Nepal PM Stresses Importance of South Asia Regional Cooperation

Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. KP Sharma Oli emphasized the importance of enhancing regional cooperation in South Asia, at the June 2016 SAARC Cabinet Secretaries Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal, where member states gathered to discuss good governance and how to resolve governance issues in the region.

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Tags: Nepal, SAARC, Governance, Regional Cooperation

June 2016

Dedicated Railway Line from Indian Ports to Nepal Sought to Reduce Cost of Trade

Nepal's private sector stakeholders are seeking a dedicated railway line from Nepal to Indian sea ports, including the Visakhapatnam Port, to reduce the cost of trade in the country. Mr. Rajan Sharma, Transport and Transit Committee Chair of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, noted that direct access to India's Visakhapatnam Port could bring transformational changes to Nepal's economy.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

SAARC CCI and SAARC Development Fund to Co-finance Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry have pledged to collaborate and co-finance projects under the SDF's social, economic and infrastructure windows to promote regional connectivity across the SAARC region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

June 2016

Nepal Power Summit Declares Need for $20 Billion to Develop 10,000 MW

The 2-day Nepal Power Investment Summit 2016 concluded with a declaration that Nepal needs $20 billion to develop 10,000 megawatts through on-grid hydropower projects in the next decade. It also noted investment needs of $5 billion for high-voltage transmission projects and other opportunities in the country's hydropower sector.

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, Hydropower

May 2016

India, Nepal Energy Bank Proposed

Nepal has forwarded a proposal to set up an India-Nepal energy bank that would help both countries address the problem of power shortage at a meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Standing Committee. The energy bank would enable Nepal to export electricity to India during summer and import electricity from India during winter.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Energy, Hydropower

May 2016

ADB, SDF Sign Pact to Co-finance Development Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Development Fund (SAARC SDF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a memorandum of understanding to undertake development projects in the South Asian region.

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Tags: ADB, Transport, SAARC, ICT, Trade, Bhutan, India, Nepal

May 2016

Nepal Revises NTIS List of Goods, Services with Export Potential to Boost Competitiveness

The Government of Nepal has streamlined the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy's (NTIS) list of high value goods and services with export potential, reducing the items from 19 to 12, to promote competitiveness and increase production capacity. According to Nepal Commerce Minister Jayanta Chand, the revised NTIS will allow the Government to focus on enhancing the supply chain.

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Tags: Nepal, Exports, Trade Integration

May 2016

King of Bhutan Emphasizes Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Cooperation

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali paid a courtesy call on the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The King lauded Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's initiatives to boost Bangladesh-Bhutan bilateral relations, and emphasized the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) cooperation as a platform to achieve regional prosperity.

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Tags: Bhutan, Bangladesh, BBIN, India, Nepal, Transport, Regional Cooperation

May 2016

Bangladesh-Nepal Commerce Secretary-level Meeting Move to Increase Bilateral Trade

A bilateral meeting led by Bangladesh Senior Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon and Nepal Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay initiated a number of measures to expand trade volume between the two countries, including removal of technical barriers to trade, harmonization of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and preferential market access for 158 products.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Trade, Standards Harmonization, Technical Barriers to Trade

May 2016

Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Economic Zone May be Formed

A Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) economic zone may be declared in an upcoming BBIN seminar and business expo to be held in Siliguri, India, according to Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). Mr. Ahmad was in Thimphu, Bhutan to discuss the upcoming BBIN seminar, as well as opportunities for trade and investment between Bangladesh and Bhutan.

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Tags: Economic zone, BBIN, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

WCO Workshop Considers Improvement of Regional Transit Regimes in BBIN Subregion

A World Customs Organization (WCO) Subregional Workshop on Transit Corridors in South Asia considered improvement of regional transit regimes in the region. Progress of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement, as well as national experiences of Japan, Switzerland and Malawi in implementing efficient transit regimes, was discussed.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Railway Agreement Proposed to Boost Multimodal Connectivity

A railway agreement in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) subregion is being proposed, in line with expansion of railway links boosting connectivity between India's Northeast and its BBIN neighbors. According to Mr. Mukul Kumar, Director (Transport), Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Government of India, this initiative will facilitate cross-border transport of goods and people, and enable efficient multimodal transport system to integrate and sustain the region's economic growth.

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Tags: BBIN, Rail, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

Economic Cooperation Dialogue Highlights Need for Transport Corridors

The Economic Cooperation Dialogue on Regional Connectivity and Border Special Development Zones in Eastern South Asia highlighted the importance of transport corridors to promote trade and economic cooperation in the region. Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Head, UNESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, shared how developing transport corridors can turn constraints faced by the region's landlocked countries into opportunities.

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Tags: Trade, Transport, South Asia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

Central Safeguard Unit to Help Coordinate Nepal SASEC Power System Expansion Project

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will create a 'central-level safeguard unit' to focus on preparation of the ADB-supported SASEC Power System Expansion Project in Nepal. The unit will comprise a team of professionals and experts, who will coordinate project issues at the local level, including land acquisition, forest clearance, and right of way.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Energy

April 2016

Commentary: Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where Do We Stand in South Asia?

Dr. Selim Reihan notes that drivers of political economy can impact the region's integration agenda. In this essay, Dr. Raihan highlights the importance of exploring the political economy of regional integration to generate a better assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, and create broader awareness among stakeholders to stimulate a more realistic and effective regional policy design and processes.

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Tags: Economic corridor, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, SAARC, SAFTA, Services, South Asia, Infrastructure, Trade Facilitation, Transport

April 2016

Promoting Trade in the BBIN Subregion Dialogue Discusses Need to Reduce NTMs

A Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) dialogue on promoting trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion has discussed intraregional trade in South Asia, which remains under 5% despite implementation of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement. According to MCCI, non-tariff measures manifested as non-tariff barriers and para-tariff barriers lead to high transaction costs in cross-border trade, keeping trade volume low.

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Tags: Trade, BBIN, SAFTA, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

March 2016

ADB Vice President Zhang: Broader, Deeper Regional Cooperation and Integration Could Turn Nepal into Land-Connected Country

Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice-President, Asian Development Bank, discussed ways to accelerate Nepal's economic structural transformation with policy makers, scholars, and Government officials in “Envisioning Nepal 2030”, an international seminar jointly organized by the National Planning Commission and ADB. In his address, he discussed how regional cooperation and integration could turn Nepal from a landlocked to a land-connected country.

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, Airports, Hydropower, LLDC

March 2016

Industrial Park and Connectivity on SAARC CCI Agenda

The development of a SAARC Industrial Park is one of the top priorities of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), and will enable the sharing of technical knowledge for industries and services among SAARC countries, and promote intra-SAARC trade and investment, according to new SAARC CCI President Suraj Vaidya. SAARC CCI will also work toward boosting connectivity in the region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, Connectivity, Private Sector, Nepal

March 2016

Bangladesh Minister for Information Discusses Energy Cooperation between Bangladesh and Nepal

The need to ramp up cooperation in energy between Bangladesh and Nepal was discussed by Bangladesh Minister for Information Hasanul Haq Inu at an interaction organized by the Nepal Reporters’ Club. According to the Minister, Bangladesh has already forwarded a proposal for transmission of energy from Nepal.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Energy, Nepal

February 2016

India and Nepal Exchange Transit Agreements Boosting Nepal's Third Country Trade

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli—on his first state visit since assuming office in October 2015—held comprehensive talks in New Delhi, and witnessed the signing of several agreements, including letters of exchange on transit and rail. These agreements will help promote Nepal's trade with third countries by making transport more efficient and less costly.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transit Facilitation

February 2016

Regional Economic Connectivity Initiatives to Change Bangladesh Business Landscape

Regional economic connectivity initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement, can change the business landscape of Bangladesh, said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque at a meeting of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  The BBIN MVA will transform 30 transport corridors into economic corridors, and is set to give subregional businesses a boost.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Transport

February 2016

SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal

The SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal was organised by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The Training focused on updating national data available on the SAARCSTAT Web Portal to enhance usability, and equipped representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka with knowledge and capacity to upload and update their information on the website.

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Tags: SAARC, Trade, Economic cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

January 2016

Energy Secretaries of India and Nepal Discuss Implementation of PTA

A 2-day meeting of the Joint Working Committee and Joint Steering Committee on India-Nepal Cooperation in the Power Sector discussed the implementation of the power trade agreement (PTA) signed in September 2014. The Meeting agreed that India will supply Nepal with 300 megawatt of electricity in the next 18 months, and reviewed plans for long-term energy trade, including the proposed 6 cross-border power corridors.

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Tags: Energy, India, Nepal

January 2016

2016 International Customs Day: Nepal Department of Customs

International Customs Day is observed in honor of the establishment of the World Customs Organization, an independent intergovernmental body, on 26 January 1952. Nepal Department of Customs shares the week-long program planned in Nepal to mark the occasion.

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Tags: Customs, Nepal, Trade Facilitation

January 2016

3rd Meeting of BBIN Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation, Dhaka

The third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Connectivity and Transit and Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower deliberated new initiatives for deepening cooperation. Discussion centered around progress made under the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement and the proposed BBIN Rail Agreement.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

January 2016

Proposed SAARC Meeting to Discuss Regional Transport Agreements

A proposed meeting of SAARC Transport Ministers in Kathmandu, Nepal aims to discuss the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement and SAARC Regional Railway Agreement, ahead of the 19th SAARC Summit to be held in the latter part of 2016 in Pakistan. The proposed regional transit agreements aim to promote transport connectivity in the region, and to enhance regional economic cooperation and integration.

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Tags: SAARC, Transport, Trade Facilitation, BBIN, Nepal

January 2016

Friendship Bus Service Re-launched between India-Nepal

A friendship bus service between India and Nepal was re-launched on 4 January 2016, after a gap of 27 years. No special documents are necessary to travel in these buses. Locals with family and trade ties in both countries, who regularly travel this route on a daily basis met the news with much enthusiasm.

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Tags: Transport, India, Nepal

December 2015

Bangladesh and Nepal Agree to Enhance Bilateral Trade

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Nepal Minister for Commerce and Supplies Ganesh Man Pun discussed Bangladesh-Nepal trade and other trade-related agreements currently being negotiated on the sidelines of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Nairobi, Kenya. The two ministers agreed to complete all bilateral trade agreements and fast-track negotiations to promote bilateral trade ties.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Trade

December 2015

Celebrating 30 Years of SAARC

On 8 December 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter was signed by Heads of State/Government of SAARC Member States during the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SAARC promotes welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and accelerated socio-cultural development in the South Asia region.

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Tags: SAARC, Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka

December 2015

Commentary: South Asia Could Be Linchpin for Regional Integration

South Asia is set to play a strategic role in Asian integration. This commentary by Mr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Advisor in the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, shares how linking emerging South Asia with the more developed member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations will transform regional economies through development of regional connectivity, and create a huge regional market of 2-3 billion people.

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Tags: South Asia, Economic corridor, Development, ASEAN, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, manufacturing, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal

November 2015

Exchange of Documents at Major SASEC Border-Crossing Points Starts

The exchange of export-related data between designated adjacent border crossing points in the SASEC subregion commenced on 30 November 2015. This SASEC Customs Subgroup Subregional Project promotes the exchange of documents at five major border-crossing points between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, to promote future electronic exchange of data and build a better risk profile of traders.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Customs, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

November 2015

BBIN MVA Transit Fees for Goods and Passenger Vehicles to be Finalized

A Meeting for the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA)on 3-4 December 2015 will finalize the transit fees for goods and passenger vehicles, and discuss other issues, said Bangladesh Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader. Transport of passengers and goods under the BBIN MVA will formally start in January 2016, with initial restrictions in place.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

October 2015

Nepal Deputy Prime Minister Calls on India's Top Government Officials

Officials from India assured Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa of increased supplies of essential goods from India. Minister Thapa went on a 3-day visit to New Delhi, where he met with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade Facilitation

September 2015

Bhutan Prime Minister Calls for Partnerships to Help LLDCs

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay promotedpartnerships as a way to help landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) become land-linked to global opportunities, saying it is possible to ensure a country is not landlocked economically with its neighbors' full trust and confidence. The Prime Minister was attending a high-level forum for landlocked developing countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

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Tags: Bhutan, LLDC, Nepal, Energy, India, Trade Facilitation

September 2015

India's Power Grid Commissions Transmission Express Highway

The Power Grid Corporation of India began power transmission along its first "Power Transmission Express Highway". With a 6,000-megawatt capacity, this power corridor connects the northern states with the North Eastern Region, and will help both manage the supply of large-scale hydropower and connect power transactions done with Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

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Tags: Energy, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal

September 2015

6th Bhutan International Trade Fair 2015

Bhutan and Nepal conducted an international trade fair from 4-8 September 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan to boost trade between the two countries. This private sector event recognizes Bhutan as a potential market for a growing number of businesses. A total of 215 business entities from seven countries participated in the fair.

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Tags: Bhutan, Nepal, Trade, Private Sector

August 2015

7th SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting in Kathmandu

Finance Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Program met in Kathmandu, Nepal on 20 August 2015 to discuss closer economic and financial cooperation in the region, emphasizing faster trade liberalization and investment in connectivity. This would help strengthen unification in the region, promote inter-country investment, and remove non-tariff barriers among member countries.

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Tags: Economic cooperation, Nepal, SAARC

August 2015

Commentary on the BBIN MVA as Positive Development for Subregional Cooperation

Read a commentary on the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) as positive development for the BBIN subregional grouping. The BBIN MVA is a landmark framework agreement that aims to facilitate seamless flow of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic between and among the BBIN countries.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

August 2015

Bangladesh’s First Trade Surplus with Nepal in 10 Years

Bangladesh recorded a trade surplus with Nepal in 2014-2015 for the first time in 10 years, due to a decrease in lentil imports. Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company figures show Nepal exported goods worth about $10.8 million, against imports of about $23.9 million last fiscal year.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Trade

August 2015

Koshi Bridge Restores Connectivity in Nepal's Eastern Development Region

The newly-constructed Koshi Bridge, inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on 3 August 2015, improves road connectivity and restores economic activities in the eastern region of Nepal. The bridge provides an alternate route and improves mobility, creating new opportunities for growth. It was constructed with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

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Tags: Nepal, Infrastructure, Transport

August 2015

India-Nepal Joint Working Group Move Forward with Vehicle Permits, New Bus Routes

The India-Nepal Cross Border Transport Facilitation Joint Working Group under the bilateral Motor Vehicle Agreement discussed measures to facilitate movement of passenger vehicles across the India-Nepal border. Key recommendations include a web-based solution to issue, monitor, and verify permits, and four new bus routes between India and Nepal.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

July 2015

Nepal Budget Emphasizes Air, Road Connectivity

The Government of Nepal unveiled a number of infrastructure projects for transport and energy in its budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 to further boost the country's economic growth. Planned road projects include development of six-lane trade roads and an alternate link road to Kathmandu. The Government is also prioritizing development of airports.

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Tags: Nepal, Transport, Airports

June 2015

$4.4 Billion Pledged to Nepal for Reconstruction

Nepal's SAARC neighbors, friendly countries and development partners have pledged a total of $4.4 billion in the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction to help the country in its rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake. India pledged aid amounting to $1 billion. The Asian Development Bank also announced its readiness to provide up to $400 million in further assistance, bringing its total pledge to $600 million.

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Tags: Nepal, Disaster Risk Management, SAARC

June 2015

Commentaries on BBIN MVA from Across the Subregion

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal formed a subregional grouping under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Framework, and signed a Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) allowing seamless transit across each other's territories at the Meeting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Transport Ministers on Regional Road Transport Connectivity. Several commentaries from across the region have been published on the BBIN MVA, and are shared below.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, BBIN, Transport

May 2015

NEA, ADB in Talks to Install Solar Lights in Earthquake-Affected Villages

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is in talks with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to install solar lights in remote districts where power distribution was severely damaged by the earthquake. Solar power can provide a temporary solution while NEA repairs its distribution channels.

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Tags: Energy, ADB, Nepal

May 2015

Relief and Rehabilitation Efforts in India-Nepal Border Towns, through Partnership with Nepal Forum

More than 170 tons of relief goods was sent by India to Nepal using the rail route from Old Delhi to Raxaul, in response to the earthquake in Nepal. Senior officials of India's National Disaster Management Authority supervised this relief effort. India's West Bengal Government also gave assistance by coordinating needed relief items with the Government of Nepal and the Nepal Army.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail

April 2015

Message of Condolence to the People of Nepal

The President of Asian Development Bank conveys deepest sympathies to the people of Nepal following the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015.

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Tags: Nepal

March 2015

Nepal International Trade Fair Highlights 19 Export Products

The fourth Nepal International Trade Fair, held 12-16 March 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal, highlighted Nepal's 19 priority export products identified by the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy. Business enterprises from other SAARC countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan—also joined. A total of 340 stalls exhibited different goods for 5 days, drawing 125,000 visitors, and recorded sales worth over $1.9 million.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade, SAARC, Hydropower

February 2015

Nepal Electricity Authority to Cut System Loss to 10%

The Nepal Electricity Authority plans to reduce current system loss to 10% by 2020 through several technical and non-technical measures, including unbundling of development and operation of electricity transmission lines. NEA's total energy generation loss in 2013-2014 stood at 25%. It is currently implementing the Energy Access and Efficiency Improvement Project under the SASEC program.

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Tags: Energy, Hydropower, Nepal

February 2015

Nepal Prime Minister Koirala Emphasizes Importance of Regional Cooperation to Nepal's Foreign Policy

Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala emphasized Nepal's strong engagement in the process of regional cooperation—through membership in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)—as “a major defining feature” of Nepal's foreign policy in a speech delivered at the 67th anniversary of Nepal Council of World Affairs on 18 February 2015.

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Tags: Nepal, Regional Cooperation, India

February 2015

Bangladesh-Nepal Expo 2015 Showcases Potential Areas of Trade

The first Bangladesh-Nepal Expo 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal attracted about 100 private businesses and more than 10,000 visitors. Enterprises from Bangladesh showcased the wide variety of products Nepal’s business community can source from Bangladesh. The fair opened potential areas of trade and encouraged entrepreneurs from both countries to create business linkages with each other.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Bilateral Trade, Trade

February 2015

Motor Vehicles Deal Underway for Seamless Transport through BBIN Subregion

An agreement that will enable seamless transit of  passenger and goods along designated key routes in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) subregion is in the pipeline. It will reduce costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and cargo at border crossing points. The agreement would help transform transport corridors linking BBIN into economic corridors and enhance people-to-people contact.

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Tags: Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

February 2015

Asian Development Bank to Give $1 Billion Credit to Improve Nepal's Infrastructure

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao called on Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on 3 February 2015 during a visit to Nepal, and met with Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and National Planning Commission Vice Chairperson Govinda Pokharel. ADB plans to provide about $1 billion in concessional loans and about $13 million in technical assistance grants to Nepal over the next three years to support faster and more inclusive growth in the country.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Energy, Transport, Trade Facilitation

January 2015

India-Nepal: Comprehensive Partnership Agreements Can Increase Trade

The Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and the Power Development Agreements (PDAs) are recent developments that have renewed optimism in an India-Nepal economic cooperation.  The PTA is expected to encourage international investment in Nepal’s hydropower sector while the two PDAs are expected to boost investor confidence in Nepal’s water resources.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade

January 2015

Nepali-language Version of Revised Kyoto Convention Published

Nepal is currently in an advanced stage of acceding to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) through submission of its Instrument of Accession to the World Customs Organization. In support of Nepal’s accession and future implementation of the provisions of the RKC, a Nepali-language translation has been published under the ADB-financed SASEC Trade Facilitation Program and launched during the 63rd International Customs Day on 26 January 2015.

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Tags: Nepal, WCO, Customs

January 2015

Nepal Subregional Transport Enhancement Project Receives ADB Award

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recognized exemplary project implementation of five best-performing projects on 18 January 2015, naming the Subregional Transport Enhancement Project (STEP), a South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) project in Nepal, Best in Safeguard Monitoring.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport

December 2014

Advisory Committee Evaluates SAARC Summit

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal formed an advisory committee on 27 March 2014 to give suggestions in preparation for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit and play a proactive role in the SAARC process, particularly in implementing decisions related to regional integration. On 9 December 2014, the committee evaluated and received feedback on the SAARC Summit, concluding unanimously that the 18th SAARC Summit was a success.

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Tags: Nepal, SAARC, Regional Cooperation

December 2014

SAARC's 30th Charter Day Celebrated

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) marked its 30th Charter Day at the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal on 8 December 2014. SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa hosted a reception attended by Nepali Vice President Paramananda Jha as chief guest along with dignitaries, high-ranking government officials, and representatives of civil society, business community, and media.

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Tags: SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Nepal

December 2014

Nepal, UNCTAD to Update Customs Data System

The Department of Customs of Nepal and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have concluded the negotiations for Nepal's adoption of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World in November 2014.

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Tags: ASYCUDA, Trade Facilitation, Nepal

November 2014

Government of Norway and ADB Co-Financing Agreement for SASEC Power Expansion Project

A co-financing agreement for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power System Expansion Project was signed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 14 November 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The project will improve access to energy in Nepal by increasing electricity access.

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Tags: Energy, ADB, Nepal

November 2014

BINA Visit Border Crossings Ahead of SAARC Summit

Bhutanese Ambassador Pema Choden, Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran, and Nepalese Ambassador Hari Kumar Shrestha visited the Land Customs Stations of Burimari-Changrabandha (Bangladesh-India), Phuentsholing-Jaigaon (Bhutan-India), Kakarbhitta-Panitanki (Nepal-India) and Phulbari-Banglabandha (India-Bangladesh) on 9-12 November 2014. BINA took the land route used by traders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal

November 2014

India Credit Line to Finance Hydropower Project, Bridges in Nepal

The Government of Nepal has allocated portions of the $1 billion line of credit from India to infrastructure projects boosting energy trade and transport connectivity between the two countries. The Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project will receive around half of the credit; bridges enhancing connectivity of Nepal's western border with India are also planned.

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Tags: India, Energy, Nepal

November 2014

Boarding Soon: Direct Flights between Nepal-Sri Lanka

Direct flights between Nepal and Sri Lanka—through capital cities Kathmandu and Colombo—are scheduled to resume in early 2015. This move is expected to boost connectivity, further increasing trade and tourism between the two countries.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Transport

October 2014

Historic Power Trade Agreement Boosts Nepal-India Energy Cooperation

Nepal and India have formally signed a historic Power Trade Agreement (PTA) which paves the way for free trade of power between the two neighboring countries. The signing took place at Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala's office at Singha Durbar in Kathmandu, Nepal on 21 October 2014, with Nepal Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri and India Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha in attendance.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, India

September 2014

Prime Minister Modi Affirms SAARC as a Strong Regional Block

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate bilateral meetings with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. The neighboring leaders discussed their support for the ‘neighborhood first’ policy and affirmed their commitment to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as a regional block that can solve common problems.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka

September 2014

Government of Nepal Requests Financing for Bridges

The Government of Nepal has requested financing from the Government of India for construction of bridges across the Terai as part of the second phase of a road project linking the East-West Highway to several border points. Around 62 bridges are required for the project.

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Tags: India, Infrastructure, Nepal, Transport

September 2014

Nepal Signs Framework Agreement for Energy+ Cooperation

The Government of Nepal signed the Framework Agreement for Energy+ Cooperation with the Government of Norway, the Government of Denmark, the Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Program to contribute toward the actual implementation of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL).

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, Renewable Energy

September 2014

Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project Sparks Hope for Nepal-India Energy Cooperation

Following the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during Prime Minister Modi's state visit to Kathmandu in August, a project that has waited in the pipeline for 17 years saw new developments.

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Tags: Energy, India, Hydropower, Nepal

September 2014

Power Trade Agreement between Nepal and India Inked

Nepal and India signed a landmark preliminary Power Trade Agreement (PTA) on 4 September 2014, around two weeks ahead of the deadline set by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This PTA paves the way for bilateral trade of electricity between the two countries, and is foreseen to boost their energy security, as well as bring in added revenues to Nepal's economy.

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Tags: Energy, India, Nepal

August 2014

ADB Committed to Help Nepal Graduate from LDC Status, Ready to Facilitate India-Nepal Power Trade Agreement

Asian Development Bank Vice President Mr. Wencai Zhang met with the Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Sushil Koirala on 17 August 2014, and assured him of ADB's commitment to help Nepal achieve its vision of graduating from least-developed country status by 2022.

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, ADB

August 2014

Nepal to Sign Power Deal with Bangladesh

After striking a similar deal in India, Nepal is set to sign a power trade agreement with Bangladesh. A Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be vetted by Nepal and presented during the power sector cooperation meeting in December, after the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation summit. Hydropower produced in Nepal through power sector cooperation, would be exported to Bangladesh through India's power corridor.

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Tags: Nepal, Bangladesh, Energy, India

August 2014

India Extends US$1 Billion Loan to Nepal for Energy, Infrastructure Projects

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-day visit to Kathmandu, Nepal on 3-4 August 2014, the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years. At a speech delivered to the Parliament of Nepal, Modi announced India’s desire to help Nepal and offered an additional soft loan of US $1 billion for energy projects and infrastructure development.

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Tags: Energy, India, Nepal, Regional Cooperation, Transport

July 2014

Railway Link to India’s Border by 2020

China initially opened the railway to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, in 2006 as part of its national plan to boost development. The railway is envisioned to be linked to Rasuwagadhi, Nepal through the Shigatse-Kerung stretch. Rasuwagadhi is about 500 kilometers from Shigatse. There are plans to extend the railway linking Tibet with the rest of the country during 2016-2020 to two separate points on the border of Nepal and on the border of India and Bhutan.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Transport

July 2014

Reducing Practical Barriers to Trade

The World Economic Forum's Global Enabling Trade Report: 2014 offers a tool to monitor progress on implementing measures for the Trade Facilitation Agreement. It provides insights on how countries in South Asia can significantly gain from the $1 trillion boost the Trade Facilitation Agreement is expected to bring to the global economy.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy, Poverty Reduction, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, South Asia, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Trade, WTO

July 2014

India-Nepal Joint Task Force Set Up

As part of India’s SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program, India and Nepal have set up a Joint Technical Task Force for the Mechi River Crossing. The first meeting was held in New Delhi on 4 July 2014 at the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Government of India.

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Tags: Transport, India, Nepal

July 2014

ADB Expanding Nepal’s Renewable Power Supply

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $180 million to Nepal for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power System Expansion Project to help Nepal address its urgent power needs. Two government agencies of Nepal are involved in the project – Nepal Electricity Authority to upgrade transmission and distribution lines, and the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre to provide electricity to remote rural areas.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, India

June 2014

SASEC Energy Projects in Nepal Increase Clean Energy Use

Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre has installed its first wind-solar hybrid system in Dhaubadi village of Nawalparasi district, with Asian Development Bank support. The clean energy approach of this successful pilot project, already providing energy services to 46 rural households, can be replicated under a proposed SASEC power system expansion project.

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Tags: Energy, Nepal, Poverty Reduction, ADB, SASEC

May 2014

Launch of $1.5 Million Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Technical Assistance for Trade Facilitation in Nepal

Mr. Madhu Kumar Marasini, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance represented the Government of Nepal at the official launch of activities under a $1.5 million technical assistance project financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, on 21 May 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The capacity development technical assistance will support trade facilitation initiatives being carried out under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Program.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Nepal, SASEC, ADB, WCO, Poverty Reduction, Customs

November 2012

ADB Assisting South Asia to Reduce Trade Barriers

ADB is providing $48 million to help goods move more smoothly in and out of Bangladesh Bhutan and Nepal.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Customs, Nepal, SASEC, South Asia, Trade, Trade Facilitation

June 2012

SAARC and ADB Workshop

A SAARC-ADB workshop held at the SAARC Secretariat Kathmandu on 21-22 June finalized the drafts of three studies.

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Tags: ADB, Economic cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, Nepal, SAARC, Services, Trade

April 2012

SASEC Countries Sign Bilateral Interconnection Agreements

During the Bilateral Interconnection Agreement Meeting held on 25-27 April 2012 in Manila major telecommunication providers from SASEC countries signed agreements for the direct peering and exchange of internet traffic through high speed fiber-optic links to be built under the Information Highway.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ICT, Nepal, Regional Integration