KATHMANDU, July 7 (Xinhua) — Nepalese luggage items such as luggage, backpacks, handbags and wallets have received duty-free market access to the U.S. market under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program along with various other least developed countries (LDCs), the U.S. embassy said here Wednesday.
These items were added in the list of duty-free access for LDCs after an Annual Product Review under GSP program carried out by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office.
The new rule makes these products eligible for duty-free status beginning July 1, states the press release. According a Nepalese diplomatic official, Nepal has received the duty free facility in 27 types of travel items.
Nepal’s Economic Councilor at the Nepalese embassy in the U.S. Kailash Raj Pokharel told Xinhua over phone that the facility available in added items are only for LDCs but not for other developing countries which have been receiving GSP facility.
U.S. imports of travel and luggage goods products totaled almost 10 billion U.S. dollar in 2015. Nepal ranked second, after Cambodia, of all LDC exporters of luggage products to the U.S., according to the embassy. Nepal’s exports of these products have grown 7 percent since 2014, totaling 1.8 million U.S. dollar in 2015.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Nepali businesses to expand their exports to U.S. markets,” said Alaina B. Teplitz, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal.
Nepal had been receiving GSP facility in the products like Nepali caps, cigars and scarves, among others. Although the GSP facility covered 5,000 items from 127 countries, the list included only 5 percent of Nepali products.
Earlier, the U.S. has passed a legislation authorizing special trade preference to Nepal providing duty-free market access to 66 types of garment items including certain carpets, headgears, shawls, scarves and travel goods.