Nepal reduces dependence on India and inches closer to China: Experts

Nepal reduces dependence on India and inches closer to China: Experts
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With the opening of a new consulate in Guangzhou, China and Nepal 's relations took another step forward. 

○ Analysts say in recent years, Nepal has been trying to reduce India 's influence on it affairs as well as seeking closer ties with China , but seeks a balanced handling of diplomatic relations. 

 

Locals and tourists watch pigeons flying in Basantapur Durbar Square, Nepal . Photo: IC


 
At an investment promotion conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, Alice Cao squeezed through the crowd of besuited Nepalese businessmen to shake the hand of Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal . They shook hands, smiled, looked at a camera, and a few seconds later, Cao was already posting the photo on her WeChat. 

Cao is sales director at the Shenzhen-based GatoCam Technology, which exports and trades cameras. She was among the hundreds of businesspeople - most of whom are Nepalese working and living in China - invited to attend the conference, which took place right after the Consulate General of Nepal in Guangzhou was formally opened last Sunday morning. The office is the third Nepalese consulate general in China , after Hong Kong and Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Mahara said at the event that the establishment of the consulate reflects the increased level of economic and commercial engagement and deepening people-to-people relations between the two countries. 

 

Alice Cao (left) stands with participants at the investment promotion conference held after the Consulate General of Nepal was formally opened. Photo: Zhang Yiqian/GT


 
Booming trade 

Phanindra Nepal , Chairman of the Greater Nepal Nationalist Front, told the Global Times that China-Nepal relations have always been harmonious and cordial. "Even before the establishment of diplomatic relations, these two nations had close ties," he said. 

In the present day, the improvement of relations is mostly reflected in trade and business.

Ravi Bhattarai, Consul General of Nepal in Guangzhou, agreed that enhanced economic relations are on the horizon due to the opening of the consulate. He said at the event that Guangdong has always had strong trade relations with Nepal and around 60 percent of Nepalese trade with China originates in the province.

Cao said her company has been trading with Nepalese partners for years. Besides cooperating with retail traders in civil security, GatoCam has also established long-term relations with one of Nepal 's largest security companies Gadgiz & Gizmos. 

"In these years, we could see that the activeness of the Nepal market keeps growing, as well as their demand for products," she said. "Starting in 2009, we went from having almost no Nepalese clients, to having Nepalese clients ask us about prices every day. We have an optimistic outlook about the market."

Besides exporting electronics to Nepal and cooperating on opening up the Indian market, Cao is also considering setting up factories in Nepal , because manufacturing costs there are far less than in Shenzhen. 

The sentiment is shared by her Nepalese business counterparts. Prakash Pun, President of Hong Kong Nepalese Business Association and Chairman of the Gurkhas Group Holdings Limited, said his company has been engaged in construction in Hong Kong for the past 20 years. 

"Business is beneficial for both parties because we know the culture and management, can maintain quality, safety and progress, and all the Chinese contractors are comfortable dealing with us," he said. This year, he's establishing a China-Nepal Business Association in China to further strengthen cooperation.  

In May, China and Nepal also signed a Belt and Road cooperation memorandum. At the ceremony, Mahara told the media Nepal needs investment and cooperation from China . The Belt and Road initiative is playing an important role in improving Nepal 's infrastructure and reducing its trade deficit. Global Times 

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