PM Oli Goes To China «

PM Oli Goes To China

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli left for the official visit – his second as a prime minister – of the northern neighbour Tuesday morning. Claiming to make Nepal’s foreign policy balanced, Oli had in his first visit in 2016 to China signed 10 separate agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on using northern neighbour’s sea port facility, building a regional international airport in Pokhara and exploring the possibilities of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and finding oil and gas reserves in Nepal. But these agreements are still in the papers and not seen being implemented.
On the back drop of his first visit that he had claimed to make Nepal self-reliant, his second state visit is an opportunity to prove that he can walk the talk. But his ascent to the power this time as nationalist leader, who ‘fought Indian blockade’ and tried to make Nepal self-reliant by signing agreement to use Chinese sea-port for third country trade, has seen a low due to inaction that has made Nepal’s trade, especially exports, fall dramatically and the country becoming more dependent on imports.
The buzz word ‘self-reliant economy’ that Oli used also failed due to his government’s negative vibe towards the private sector. Without empowering the private sector for more production to make self-reliant economy, the rail – that Oli claims to connect Birgunj-Kathmandu and Kerung-Kathmandu – will only help increase imports from our two neighbouring countries that are the production houses of the world.
Likewise, Nepal this time has proposed to sign an agreement of detailed project report (DPR) of Oli’s much-talked railway project, which China has not received very eagerly, according to the higher official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, railway connectivity will feature under the Trans Himalayan Connectivity, in the joint communiqué, they claim.
Oli, on Monday pre-briefing the House about his state visit to china, said that he would ask China to open more border points. Nepal and China had already in 2015 agreed to open seven more border trading points to facilitate flow of essential goods to the landlocked Nepal then reeling under acute shortage due to blockade of a key border point with India by Tarai-Madhesh based political parties protesting against the new Constitution.
Currently, only Kerung Customs is the international customs between Nepal and China, though Tatopani customs used to be the only trading route between the two neighbours since decades.
However, PM Oli, in his nationalist euphoria, forgot about the already agreed MoU of entering into bilateral FTA and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) – which has already been under discussions – that could help more Chinese entrepreneurs to come to invest in Nepal as the country needs to increase production to become a self-reliant economy. Without making a self reliant economy, Nepal will always be blamed to be tilted to either north or south due to lack of economic backbone.