Consul General Chairs Business Consultation

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Hon. Consul General of Nepal to Victoria, Chandra Yonzon, held a Business Consultation at Nepal Consulate Office boardroom on Friday, 15 September 2017. The consultation, which saw more than 40 Nepalese business operators, entrepreneurs and businesspeople in attendance, was aimed at forming a Nepal-Australia Trade and Commerce Team to oversee the establishment of a Nepalese Business Chamber in Melbourne. The consultation comes following a meeting held at Embassy of Nepal in Canberra on Tuesday, 29 August 2017, in which Consuls and Consuls-General meet with Ambassador of Nepal to Australia, HE Sherpa to discuss consular operations, Australia-Nepal relations and trade and investment.

A brief presentation on Nepal’s macroeconomic landscape provided relevant data to facilitate an informed discussion. Guest Speaker, Nepal Chamber of Commerce Immediate Past President, Surendra Kumar Basnet, shared his experience of working with the Chamber for over three decades. Basnet briefly presented the history of the Chamber since its establishment in 1952. He highlighted the roles of the Chamber in the business, industrial and sound industrial relations development Nepal, and presented how the Chamber reinforces business communities’ commitment to society.

Basnet subsequently highlighted the potential role of a new Chamber and the role a Nepal-Australia Trade and Commerce team would play. He talked about two potentially crucial policy issues if the bilateral trade and investment were to be bolstered in the future: (i) Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), and (ii) Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). BIPPAs are agreements between governments of two countries (like Nepal & Australia) for the reciprocal promotion and protection of investments in each other’s territories by individuals and companies situated in either state. BIPAs are now considered instrumental in giving safety and mutual trust simultaneously for cross national investors. Similarly, DTAs are significant to allow investors and trading companies to get access to fair tax rules in both countries and the states to honour justifiable taxation regimes. Basnet maintained the need to foster cooperation with related Nepalese and foreign organisations. He also pointed out the responsibility of the chamber to create awareness and bring together business and industry initiatives on social issues.

Consul General Yonzon chaired the program, and highlighted the purpose of the Business Consultation as per Consulate-issued Press Release. Yonzon commended Nepalese Ambassador on her energy, vision and mission. He spoke of the importance of the initial consultation, suggesting the need for an adviser, and said that a name list will be sent to the Embassy where the Nepalese Chamber of Commerce will be formed. Yonzon spoke of the chamber not only being for Nepalese, but instead a long-term project of trade and investment between two states that will see the involvement of Australian businesspeople, also. Yonzon thanked all attendees before opening the floor for all to give valuable feedback and suggestions.

Participants agreement on the need to establish a bilateral chamber to foster Nepal-Australia mutual trade and investment, and decrease Nepal’s trade deficit and increase the business capabilities of Nepalese businesspeople in Australia. Participant agreed on the need for further discussion on the structure, composition, constitution and the roles of the Trade and Commerce Team. They also formed an ad hoc committee representing various commercial sectors. The consultation is the second program initiated by Consul General Yonzon following discussions in Canberra.