Unifeed

NEPAL / TRADE

To export a truckload of goods out of Nepalmeans a flurry of paperwork, unbelievably treacherous mountain roads, and a border post without a proper computer system. It's an exhausting, frustrating  journey. Now there are plans to streamline the process to improve trade with India and the world. WORLD BANK
U130223a
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00:07:10
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U130223a
Description

STORY: NEPAL / TRADE
TRT: 7:10
SOURCE: WORLD BANK
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NEPALI / NATS

DATELINE: 13 FEBRUARY, NEPAL

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Shotlist

DECEMBER 2012, NEPAL

1. Wide shot, monastery
2. Med shot, woman working with fabric
3. Close up, threads in machine
4. Close up, feet pushing sewing machine
5. Close up, person’s hands cleaning shawl
6. Med shot, woman cleaning shawl
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Sundar Dahal, Exporter:
“This is the finished product, everything has to have the same size.”
8. Close up, women working with fabric
9. Close up, Map
10. Wide shot, cars in traffic
11. Wide shot, building
12. Wide shot, Chamber of Commerce building
13. Med shot, Chamber of Commerce building from side
14. Med shot, Customs Clearance Office
15. Wide shot, Customs Clearance Office as cars drive by
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Sundar Dahal, Exporter:
“First this is the commercial invoice, this is for once we got the invoice then we make the certificate of origin given by FNCCI the new make a, it depends on the country, we make a GSP general system of preference… when we export the goods from Nepal we have a GSP, duty free access… once we make this we have one form called foreign currency control… from the bank. We fill it out then the form for the custom declaration form.”
17. Close up, worker taping up boxes
18. Med shot, packing up boxes
19. Wide shot, person carrying box through courtyard
20. Med shot, person carrying bag on back
21. Med shot, person lifting bag onto truck
22. Wide shot, point of view shot driving in street
23. Close up, Map
24. Wide shot, trucks driving on mountain
25. Wide shot, truck on mountain road
26. Close up, truck’s wheels in mud
27. Med shot, people on bikes driving on dirt road
28. Med shot, truck broken down on side of road
29. Close up, tools used to fix flat tire
30. SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Dipak Bhujel, Truck Driver:
“Because of the potholes, there are high possibilities of the trucks making accidents. A few days ago, a truck made and accident there because of the potholes.”
31. Wide shot, trucks on side of road
32. Med shot, trucks turned over on side of road
33. Med shot, woman painting
34. Wide shot, trucks driving by truck stops
35. SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Santi Lama, Truck Stop Manager:
“A loaded truck just turned over. The driver and his assistant weren't hurt. So we need better roads. It’s the highway to the capital but it's like a village road.”
36. Wide shot, cars driving on muddy road
37. Med shot, soldiers checking vehicles at checkpoint
38. Zoom out, soldier pulling item from vehicle
39. SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Bhuwan Chapagain, Truck Driver:
“They look for the goods and money as well. If the goods are OK, they won't look for money, If the trucks are overloaded they'll ask for money.”
40. Med shot, vehicle driving away
41. Wide shot, mountain side road
42. Close up, Map
43. SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Parshuram Thakur, Truck Driver:
“From Narayangadh to Mungling it's somewhat tough, it's a risky road; then after the road gets steep, It's very steep, we need to cross that that is the risk.”
44. Wide shot, river running alongside two mountains
45. Wide shot, vehicles driving on dirt road
46. Med shot, Birgunj welcome sign
47. Med shot, truck driving
48. Med shot, people taking things on and off trucks
49. SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Parshuram Thakur, Truck Driver:
“There could be some problems with documents and that could take 3-4 days. The importers have to wait for the documents to arrive then after they need to get customs clearance that's why it takes time.”
50. Tilt down, truck driving away
51. Close up, Map
52. SOUNDBITE (English) Rajan Sharma, President, Freight Forwarders Association,
“The single window system will make things much more easier because all the documents that are needed will be filed electronically and all the documents needed by the customs can be checked directly by them and the docs will be lessened, the time for exports will be less.”
53. Wide shot, trucks driving on road
54. Med shot, workers taking items off of truck
55. Med shot, workers taking items off of truck
56. Med shot, workers putting items onto truck
57. Close up, India Customs sign
58. Med shot, person conducting traffic
59. Close up, Map Graphic
60. SOUNDBITE (English) Rajan Sharma, President, Freight Forwarders Association,
“It's taking way too long and we are really frustrated with it, we are really frustrated. The realistic turn around time for exports should not be more than… one day to the border, 5 days to Kolkata and onboard to the ship maximum 7 days.”
61. Med shot, bikes and trucks on muddy road
62. Wide shot, trucks waiting in line
63. Med shot, trucks waiting in line
64. Med shot, worker using electric saw
65. Wide shot, construction workers building
66. Wide shot, building and dirt road
67. Med shot, bulldozer lifting gravel
68. Med shot, bulldozer lifting gravel
69. Close up, chemical on burner in lab
70. Med shot, scientist in laboratory
71. Close up, scientist putting liquid in container
72. Close up, vials on table
73. Med shot, scientists in laboratory
74. Pan right, women walking in complex
75. SOUNDBITE (English) Sundar Dahal, Exporter:
“If we have that sort of lab in Nepal, definitely it would boost Nepalese exports to India as well as third country and we will reduce massive costs.”
76. Close up, documentation
77. Wide shot, truck driving on muddy road
78. Med shot, worker placing items on truck
79. Wide shot, mountains, river, and road
80. Wide shot, city with mountains in background

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Storyline

There’s international demand for Nepal’s homegrown products.

Like these hand-made acrylic shawls destined for Japan.

SOUNDBITE (Englis) Sundar Dahal, Exporter:
“This is the finished product, everything has to have the same size.”

But exporter Sundar Dahal knows that getting goods out of Nepal isn’t easy.
Nepal is a landlocked country, lying between India and China. All goods going overseas must pass through India to the port city of Kolkata.

It’s a long, onerous journey across the border that seriously hinders trade so the World Bank Group is working with the Nepalese government to streamline the process.

Starting here.

To get goods out of Nepal, exporters must first go to this building to get a certificate stating whether the product is an antique or not. Then, they go here to get documents from the Chamber of Commerce, the handicraft association and the trade promotion center certifying that the product is made In Nepal. Then it’s off to the Customs clearance office where all these documents are certified.

The amount of forms can get overwhelming.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sundar Dahal, Exporter:
“First this is the commercial invoice, this is for once we got the invoice then we make the certificate of origin given by FNCCI the new make a, it depends on the country, we make a GSP general system of preference when we export the goods from Nepal we have a GSP, duty free access once we make this we have one form called foreign currency control from the bank. We fill it out then the form for the custom declaration form”

Streamlining the forms process will be a good start. But only a first step.

Sundar’s shawls will be shipped to Japan by air.
But the majority of exports leaving Nepal go over land to - or through - India and then by sea to overseas markets. So for most exporters once the forms are ready it’s time to load the truck and head to the Indian border. The road straight through the mountains is the shortest path - but it’s too dangerous for trucks to cross, so they have to use the longer, roundabout route. It may not look it – but this is actually the safer road. It’s narrow … filled with potholes and it’s unpaved in sections making it difficult to navigate. With no shoulder, trucks that break down, take up a whole lane waiting for a fix.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Dipak Bhujel, Truck Driver:
“Because of the potholes, there are high possibilities of the trucks making accidents. 6:30 a few days ago, a truck made and accident there because of the potholes.”

Santi Lama witnessed the accident from her small truckstop. She’s watched drivers struggle to navigate this stretch of road for the last 17 years.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Santi Lama, truck stop manager:
“A loaded truck just turned over. The driver and his assistant weren't hurt. So we need better roads its the highway to the capital but it's like a village road.”

Potholes are not the only hazard to be navigated. Truckers say there are anywhere from 5 –

10 checkpoints along the way.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Bhuwan Chapagain, Truck Driver:
“They look for the goods and money as well. If the goods are OK, they won't look for money If the trucks are overloaded they'll ask for money.”

One part of the road is particularly treacherous.

With help from the World Bank Group the government plans to fix this notorious 33 kilometer passage which not only hinders trade, but claims lives.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Parshuram Thakur, truck driver:
“From Narayangadh to Mungling it's somewhat tough, it's a risky road; then after the road gets steep. It's very steep, we need to cross that that is the risk.”

Getting to the border town of Birgunj may be the end of the road but for exporters the travails continue.

Trucks are weighed sometimes everything has to be offloaded for customs clearance and other border controls.

The multiple forms are checked. The process can take anywhere from 4 hours to 4 days.

SOUNDBITE (Nepali) Parshuram Thakur, Truck Driver
“There could be some problems with documents and that could take 3-4 days. 9:30 - the importers have to wait for the documents to arrive then after they need to get customs clearance that's why it takes time.”

Each of the five major border posts in Nepal uses a different database, causing confusion. They aren’t connected to the computer network in India either. So any exchange of information between India and Nepali customs is either done through paper or email.
The Nepalese government is planning to build a “single window” system so customs and other agencies will be able to expedite clearance.

In addition, the World Bank Group is helping India and Nepal to automate their data exchange systems.

SOUNDBITE (English) Rajan Sharma, President, Freight Forwarders Association:
“The single window system will make things much more easier because all the documents that are needed will be filed electronically and all the documents needed by the customs can be checked directly by them and the docs will be lessened, the time for exports will be less.”

There’s one last hurdle within Nepal.

Before leaving customs, cargo has to be moved from the Nepali truck and onto an Indian truck.

That’s because of regulations and informal hurdles that make it a hassle to cross the border.

Once the transfer is done, goods go through Indian customs, which can often be congested. When they finally make it to the port city of Kolkata they’ll be checked again according to the Port’s procedures. This also takes time.

So from Kathmandu to Kolkata, the inland transport and handling of a load of exported goods can take anywhere from 10 – 20 days to complete.

SOUNDBITE (English) Rajan Sharma, President, Freight Forwarders Association:
“It's taking way too long and we are really frustrated with it, we are really, really frustrated. The realistic turn around time for exports should not be more than… one day to the border, 5 days to Kolkata and onboard to the ship… maximum 7 days.”

And it’s a two-way street, businesses importing goods into Nepal face the same challenges making everyday staples more expensive.

To address these challenges, the Indian government is building modern checkpoints on its borders with Nepal and other neighbors. There will be new roads and better infrastructure. Both governments hope the new checkpoints will allow for increased trade throughout the region.

Another planned improvement creating accredited labs within Nepal.

Today, food products like tea or coffee must be sent to India or China for testing because Nepal doesn’t have an internationally accredited food lab. This one, in Kathmandu, is only accredited for goods within Nepal. Waiting for the international certificate can take up to 3 weeks.

SOUNDBITE (English) Sundar Dahal, Exporer:
“If we have that sort of lab in Nepal, definitely it would boost Nepalese exports to India as well as third country and we will reduce massive costs.”

From excessive documentation to horrific road conditions, to a lack of a centralized computer system and cumbersome procedures that prevent unhindered passage across borders trading goods between Nepal and other countries is a bad business.

But with a multi-pronged approach, this South Asian country has a lot to offer, not only with its neighbor India but to the world at large.

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