Foreign trade represented more than 50% of the Nepalese GDP in 2009. Although state policies have been modified with the changes of government, the country seems to be very eager to open its economy.
As a matter of fact, the Nepalese government is showing a special interest in establishing an export-oriented economy. Companies exporting more than 90% of their goods are exempted from custom duties, excise duties and sales taxes. However, there are major barriers to the development of trade, such as lack of skilled labor force, low level of advanced technology, difficult geographical accessibility, limited domestic market and high import duties (which can reach 140%).
Historically, for many years Nepal’s trade balance has been in deficit. Even if the exports have not been greatly hurt by the global economic crisis, the deficit has been deepening following an increase in imports.
Nepal’s main trading partners are India, China, Bangladesh, USA. The country mainly exports clothing, carpets, handicrafts, leather and jute products, vegetables and cereals Nepal imports oil and oil products, machinery & equipment and electronics.
Nepal had adopted liberal trade policy in 1992 and the new Trade Policy is announced in 2014. The foreign trade of Nepal is being directed towards wide range of countries in the world after Nepal became the member of WTO in 2004. Nepal has trade relation with more than 100 countries. Nepal has identified 19 selected items for exports through its National Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) in 2010.
Nepal is facing a problem of ever increasing trade deficit. Import is rapidly increasing but the increase in export is very low. Nepal is facing trouble to take the advantage of globalization in trade.