Keynote Speech by Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal at Nepal-China Economic and Trade Forum
Beijing, 28 April 2019
Rt. Honorable President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari
Distinguished members of the Nepal-China Business Community,
Members of the Nepali delegation,
Friends from Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel honoured to have this opportunity to share a few words at this Nepal-China Economic and Trade Forum being organized with the participation of prominent business leaders from Nepal and China.
I would like to thank the Embassy of Nepal and Economic Joint Committee of China Commercial Stock Enterprises for organizing this important meeting.
Rt. Honourable President has already highlighted the importance of Nepal-China bilateral relations and prospects of doing business in the changed political context in Nepal. To avoid the repetition on some contents, I will be rather brief with particular focus on the potentials in the areas of trade and investment between our two countries. I would also briefly touch upon the various reform measures undertaken by the Government of Nepal to create an investment friendly environment.
As you are aware, Nepal and China have been enjoying excellent relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955. These relations have been expanding and deepening in multiple areas including economic, cultural, technical and people-to-people relations.
Nepal and China are close neighbours. Our relations are trouble-free.
Nepal is firmly committed to One China policy. We have a principled position that we do not allow our soil to be used against China.
Distinguished Business Leaders!
China has astonished the world with its unprecedented development in a relatively short span of time. It has been moving miraculously from poverty to plenty. Nepal cherishes the progress and prosperity of China. While setting an example of rapid socio-economic development, China has become one of the major sources of foreign direct investment across the world.
As a close neighbour and a friendly country, Nepal wishes to be benefitted from the progress and prosperity of China. Nepal views stable, strong and prosperous China as an opportunity for its development and prosperity.
I am happy to note that China is one of the most important development partners of Nepal. It is also one of the largest trading partners, one of the largest sources of FDI as well as tourists to Nepal.
We appreciate the Government and people of China for their continued support and cooperation to our development efforts.
Economic engagements between our two countries carry a long history. I am happy to share that Nepal served, for a long period of time, as a transit route between China and India and beyond for trade.
Given the changed global context and development needs of Nepal, such engagements need to be revitalized, further deepened and expanded.
To our great relief, decade-long political transition in Nepal has come to an end after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2015. As per the spirit of the Constitution, necessary laws have been enacted and the political gains have been institutionalized. A stable government has been formed and development agenda has been set with the motto of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.”
Sole focus of the Government is to uplift the living standard of the people.
We aspire to become a middle-income country by 2030 and graduate from LDC status at an early date. At the same time, we aim to realize the SDGs. To achieve these goals, we require massive investment in infrastructure development and induction of advanced and innovative technology, for which our domestic resources are insufficient. Therefore, we need the support and cooperation of the international community including neighbours to fill in the resources gap.
We welcome foreign investment. We are committed to protecting foreign investment. We have an investment-friendly environment and which will be further improved.
As I said earlier, we have a stable government. Stable government ensures policy stability and consistency, which is a pre-requisite for boosting confidence of the investors.
Political stability also guarantees peace and stability that is essential for the safety and security of the investors and their investment.
With the demographic dividend of working age population in majority, with yet to be tapped huge natural resources, with the increasing domestic market of sizable proportion of middle class, and with the strategic geo-location between the two largest markets of the globe –Nepal is an attractive investment destination.
As the CEO of the Nepal Investment Board and the representatives from private sector of Nepal will shortly present about the investment prospects in Nepal, I will briefly share a few words with you on the same topic.
We have introduced major policy changes in order to simplify procedures, maintain clarity and transparency and guarantee the easy repatriation of the profit. In the past few months, we have made substantial progress in improving investment climate in the country. A sound regulatory framework has been established with the enactment of two key legislations: Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act; and Public-Private Partnership and Investment Act.
The Public-Private Partnership and Investment Act provides one stop service for any foreign investment of over Nepali Rupees 6 billion or a hydropower project over 200 MW capacity.
Statutory provisions pertaining to land acquisition, company registration, environmental assessment and infrastructure development have been relaxed and simplified.
We offer an attractive incentive package in terms of corporate taxation, import duties, and export facilitation. Tax rates are predictable and tax holidays are guaranteed by the law for those industries that meet the criteria.
Nepal offers tremendous opportunities for the investors. It is still a virgin land for investment in every sector. Almost every sector including hydropower, manufacturing industries, IT, services, tourism, mining, herbal medicines, and agro-based industries is open for foreign investment. Attractive profit the foreign companies are making in Nepal is an evidence that proves investment in Nepal is an opportunity.
Market competition is very low at the moment. Therefore, it is prime time for Chinese companies to enter into Nepali market for reaping optimum profit from their investment.
Investors will also be benefitted by the relatively cheap labour forces available in Nepal. English-speaking human resources are also easily available.
We have signed Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements as well as Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements with a number of countries.
All political parties in Nepal have common voice on the agenda of development and prosperity. It was reflected during the Investment Summit held in Kathmandu last month.
We are highly encouraged by the significant presence of the investors from different countries and international organizations. The largest number of the investors in the Summit was from China. It indicates the growing confidence of the Chinese investors on Nepali market. We expect receiving the largest investment from China.
The Summit was also a reflection of trust and confidence of foreign investors on Nepal. It is an evidence of the proper environment being created for investment in Nepal.
Tourism is yet another sector for investment. Nepal has unparalleled natural beauty and incredible cultural treasures. Natural and cultural diversity make Nepal a tourist paradise round the year. The Government has announced the year 2020 as Visit Nepal Year with the aim of attracting 2 million tourists in a year. We also seek investment for upgrading tourism infrastructure, including hotels and resorts.
Therefore, it is opportune time to invest in Nepal. Business environment in Nepal is conducive from all respects.
Tap the opportunities; invest your capital and technology in Nepal, and reap the benefit. I assure you that you will gain while investing in Nepal. And, Nepal will also gain in the form of job creation and trade expansion, among others.
We welcome you in Nepal.
Thank You, Xie Xie!