Trade Preferences, IPR, Investment Among Topics of Discussion with Nepal, Ecuador
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that during the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Nepal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council held Nov. 13 in Washington, D.C., Nepal expressed interest in expanding its utilization of trade preferences the U.S. granted to 77 tariff lines from Nepal through Dec. 31, 2025, as a way of helping the country recover from earthquakes that struck in 2015. For its part, the U.S. highlighted draft legislation in Nepal that would increase intellectual property protections and facilitate foreign investment and expressed a willingness to explore further technical assistance to Nepal to increase trade and investment.
Other topics of discussion included labor reforms, investment promotion, implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, digital trade and e-commerce, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and greater market access and reform in Nepal’s agricultural sector. The two sides said they would deepen their engagement on these issues over the coming months in preparation for the next TIFA council meeting to be held in Nepal in 2019.
Separately, the first meeting of the U.S.-Ecuador Trade and Investment Council in nine years was held Nov. 15. Representatives discussed issues such as increasing bilateral trade and investment flows, cooperation projects, intellectual property aspects related to trade, investment issues, and trade in agricultural and fishery products. The two sides said they plan to expand their efforts at the next TIC meeting to be held in Quito in 2019.