Kathmandu, Jan 28: The Czech Republic has shown keen interest in furthering investment in Nepal and is all set to ink an agreement on bilateral cooperation as Czech entrepreneurs have shown their willingness to invest in joint ventures in Nepal in the areas of water resources, roads, food industry, construction and industrial equipment.
Czech Republic Minister for Industry and Commerce Jan Mladek, leading a 39-member delegation comprised of high -profiled business people is arriving in Kathmandu tomorrow.
He is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat prior to signing an agreement on bilateral cooperation. In order to enhance economic cooperation and investment in infrastructure and hydropower sector, governments of both countries have agreed to constitute a high level Joint Economic Commission at the level of Finance Secretary. This would be the first pact between the two friendly nations which is expected to heighten bilateral bonds and business ties.
During his two-day official sojourn, Minister Mladek is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali, his counterpart Sunil Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Industry Mahesh Basnet, senior officials of government of Nepal and also hold parleys with other interlocutors on wide-ranging cooperation and potential avenues of mutual cooperation.
Of late, the Czech Republic has eyed Nepal as an investment destination and intends to pump in substantial capital. Madhu Kumar Marasini, Chief of the International Economic Cooperation and Coordination Division at the Finance Ministry, informed RSS that the bilateral agreement to be signed tomorrow has prioritized domestic needs and is nation-centric. Promotion of private sector and their capability enhancement, boost up of trade, industry and investment, among others, are the key features of the pact.
The volume of trade between Nepal and the Czech Republic shows an increasing trend but is in favour of the Czech Republic. Nepal exports mainly readymade garments, handicrafts, carpets, tea and medicinal herbs and imports medicine and medical equipment, electrical goods, machinery and parts, glass beads and foodstuffs.
Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic to Nepal, Vishnu Kumar Agrawal sees huge potential of furthering Nepal’s export. “Annul export of Nepali products to Czech Republic is to the tune of four million Nepali rupees and we strive to increase it,” he said, adding, the most sellable products like organic tea and coffee are well received there. “We imported goods worth seven million rupees,” shedding light on the import side, Consul Agrawal said. It is quite interesting to note that the beads that are well admired by the Nepali females are the produce of Czech Republic. Skoda, one of the luxurious cars and aircrafts are being imported from Czech Republic. Goma Airlines, a private Nepali company, has been serving Nepal in the aviation sector of Nepal with an aircraft manufactured in Czech Republic.
Nepal established diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic on March 2, 1994. Both Nepal and the Czech Republic work closely in international arena including the United Nations, on issues of common interest. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, exchange of high level visits has helped in fostering friendly relations.
The Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Hynek Kmonicek visited Nepal in June 2001 while a Nepali delegation led by the then Chief Commissioner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Mr. Surya Nath Upadhyaya attended the 10th International Anti-Corruption Conference held in October 2001 in Prague. Likewise, trade delegations have visited each other’s countries. Nepal and the former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic had signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Public Health and Medical Sciences in 1979 and on Trade and Payment in 1982. Former Czechoslovakia had provided some scholarships to Nepalese students especially in the fields of engineering, medicine and other technical subjects. Now, the Czech Republic has been offering some scholarships to Nepali students every year for higher studies in the fields of engineering, economics and the Czech language.
On investment front, only one joint venture existed until July 2012 with the Czech investment of Rs. 3.5 million which created 12 jobs. Czech people are known as mountain lovers and they are avid pursuers of highland trekking as well as mountaineering. A number of Czech tourists visit Nepal every year, with the data for 2010 and 2011 standing at 2,831 and 2,121, respectively.
Against this backdrop, Consul Agrawal expresses deep concern over the current political situation and frequent strikes and urges the political actors to seriously work for the socio-economic progress of motherland.
It is relevant to quote Prime Minister Sushil Koirala who recently said, “Nepal has been maintaining friendship and goodwill with all countries and has commended the generosity and support granted by our neighbouring and friendly countries towards Nepal’s and Nepali people’s democratic commitments.
Nepal aspires for continued goodwill and support towards her campaign for advancing the process of socio-economic transformation with reliance on the foundation of democracy from all friendly countries, while upholding the cooperative relations on basis of equality.”