PPD on Enhancing Export Competitiveness of Nepali Silver Jewellery
South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) organized a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on Enhancing Export Competitiveness of Nepali Silver Jewellery in collaboration with German Cooperation for Development and Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) on 14 January 2015. The PPD aimed at identifying export related barriers in the silver jewellery sector, and preparing an action plan to address them with a view of submitting them to the Nepal Business Forum.
The programme was divided into three sections: introductory session, thematic session and group work. The introductory session started with welcome remarks and programme highlights by Dr. Hiramani Ghimire, Executive Director, SAWTEE. He mentioned that despite rising demand in international markets and inclusion of silver jewellery in the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS), it is unfortunate that Nepal’s export of silver jewellery has declined dramatically in recent years. He identified several key structural and administrative problems in the sector and mentioned that the day’s programme was aimed at preparing an action plan towards issues that can be solved in immediate future.
Addressing the participants, Dr. Peter Ritcher, Chief Technical Advisor of the Trade Promotion Programme, GIZ have a brief highlight on the area of operation of the Trade Promotion Programme. He mentioned that the German Government is closely working with the Government of Nepal to promote products identified by the NTIS. According to him, GIZ has promoted these products at micro- meso- and macro-level ranging from promotion of products to capacity development of the MoCS.
Introductions were followed by presentation on silver jewellery sector by Mr. Purushottam Ojha, Former Secretary, MoCS who analysed various supply side related constraints in Nepalese trade sector and also highlighted the importance of overcoming non-tariff barriers to promote trade. Mentioning the dramatic decline in exports of silver jewellery in past three years, he remarked that improvement in the supply side; trade promotion and marketing; and quality enforcement are crucial for promoting Nepali silver jewellery abroad. He also urged the silver jewellery exporters to vie into trading with India and China, our closest neighbours.
At the end of the introductory session, Mr. Hari Bhakta Sharma, Senior Vice President, Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) mentioned the need to improve the competitiveness of manufacturers of Nepali silver jewellery to promote its exports to India and China. He reminded the government that encouraging entrepreneurship was crucial towards increase in investment and overall growth of the country. He suggested the possibility of joint-venturing with Indian jewellery manufacturers to utilize their market reach. He also urged the private sector to formulate market strategies to target affluent international markets by capitalizing on uniqueness of Nepali jewellery.
In the next session, commenting on the findings of the study, Mr. Toya Narayan Gyawali, Joint Secretary, MoCS accepted that while the progress on NTIS has been slow, improvement in trade sector definitely has been realized in the past few years. He thanked SAWTEE for the important research in the field of silver jewellery and mentioned that the document would serve as a reference document for the Ministry. He also recommended the private sector to utilize favourable relations with important export markets in promoting our jewellery in those countries. For improving the competitiveness of the sector, Mr. Gyawali stressed on the need for modernizing technology being used in the sector while maintaining the authentic designs. He also mentioned that quality assurance and branding are crucial for promoting the sector. He also stressed the overarching commitment of the government of Nepal to promote the sector.
Representing the private sector, Mr. Swayambhu Ratna Tuladhar, Managing Director, Yak and Yeti Enterprises stressed on the need for improved support from the government in order to promote the sector. He pointed out that problem with acquiring Certificate of origin (COO) while exporting to India and China, lack of export incentives, and problem of inspection at customs are some of the major hurdles for export promotion of silver jewellery. He also requested the government to stop the supply of silver jewellery to international markets through unofficial channels to keep check on the quality of such exported products.
About 50 participants representing policy makers, private sector representatives, researchers and media came up with an action plan to improve the sector. The action plan to be submitted to the Nepal Business Forum (NBF) focuses on improving policies to enhance the production and export of Nepali silver jewellery in international markets.