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News Section

BEIJING, 23 June 2022, (TON): Chinese leader Xi Jinping said “the conflict in Ukraine has sounded an alarm for humanity.”

China has refused to criticize Russia’s war in Ukraine or even to refer to it as an invasion in deference to Moscow, while also condemning U.S.-led sanctions against Russia and accusing the West of provoking Moscow.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying “the Ukraine crisis has again sounded the alarm for humanity. Countries will surely end up in security hardships if they place blind faith in their positions of strength, expand military alliances, and seek their own safety at the expense of others.”

Xi, who did not propose any solutions, was speaking at the opening of a virtual business forum of the “BRICS” countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

In other comments, Xi said imposing sanctions could act as a boomerang and a double-edged sword, and that the global community would suffer from “politicizing, mechanizing and weaponizing” global economic trends and financial flows.

NEW YORK, 23 June 2022, (TON): A senior UN aid official said “the United Nations does not have search and rescue capabilities in Afghanistan and Turkey is best positioned to provide it following a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan.”

Deputy UN envoy in Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said “we spoke about it with the embassy of Turkey here on the ground and they’re waiting for the formal request.”

“We will be able to make such request only after the discussion with the de-facto authorities and based on what is the reality on the ground.”

The death toll from an earthquake in Afghanistan hit 1,000, disaster management officials said, with more than 600 injured and the toll expected to grow as information trickles in from remote mountain villages.

Alakbarov speaking from Kabul said “while the Taliban had not yet formally requested help from international search and rescue teams, the United Nations had already sounded out countries in the region to see if they would be willing and available to deploy such capacity.”

He said “our teams do not have specific equipment to take people from under the rubble. This has to rely mostly on the efforts of the de-facto authorities, which also has certain limitations in that respect.”

RIYADH, 23 June 2022, (TON): It has been announced “the UK electronic visa waiver assistance service was now available to travelers in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”

VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions, revealed that it had recently extended the service to the two countries.

VFS Global told “nationals of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can now apply for an EVW when traveling to the UK. Travelers can apply in advance from the comfort of their home, anywhere between three months and 48 hours prior to their intended date of travel, for the purposes of tourism, business, study, or medical treatment.”

The latest country additions mean the company now helps in all six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, which also include Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE.

WASHINGTON, 23 June 2022, (TON): According to Ramin Toloui, the US assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs “climate change is to blame for the global food crisis but the war in Ukraine and the pandemic have made it worse.”

Addressing the issue of global food shortages during a briefing, he said “the US government is working with global and regional partners to tackle the effects of the crisis, especially shortages resulting from the conflict in Ukraine.”

While acknowledging that the food crisis was already a concern before the war began, Toloui said the conflict has exacerbated the problem and is having a particularly significant effect on countries in the Middle East and North Africa because they import about half of their grain from Ukraine.

He added “through its Feed the Future Initiative, the US is working with countries around the world to increase food production and develop crops and seeds that are more resilient to climate change.”

RIYADH, 23 June 2022, (TON): Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef has commenced an official visit to the UK to promote bilateral collaboration opportunities and forge new channels of communication with British investors.

Saudi Press Agency reported “during his visit, the minister met with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan.”

The two officials discussed recent developments and reiterated the Kingdom's efforts to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030 and create opportunities for international partnerships in the industrial and mining sectors.

The meeting focused on key collaboration opportunities and Saudi interests. It also discussed the most important ways to achieve the Kingdom's goals of exploiting an estimated $1.3 trillion in mineral wealth and developing mineral industries.

ANKARA, 23 June 2022, (TON): Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler will take another step towards breaking his international isolation by paying his first visit to Turkey since the murder in 2018 of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

The talks in Ankara between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan come one month before a visit to Riyadh by US president Joe Biden, for a regional summit focused on the energy crunch caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan’s decision to revive ties with one of his biggest rivals is also driven in large part by economics and trade.

Turks’ living standards are imploding one year before a general election that poses one of the biggest challenges of Erdogan’s mercurial two-decade rule.

CAIRO, 23 June 2022, (TON): Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Nevin Gamea said “Egypt and Qatar are holding talks to expand investments in new areas and increase their volume, especially in the energy sector.”

During her participation in the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, Gamea said “during my current visit to Doha, I presented investment opportunities to the Qatari side in the field of manufacturing industries, specialized industries, textiles and leather industries as a kind of partnership between the two sides.”

She added “there is communication between the two sides to create the climate for opening the capital of Egyptian companies to the Qatari business sector.”

Gamea said “current Qatari investments are focused on real estate, hotels and tourism, noting that there is a common desire to enhance these investments to reflect the good relations between Qatar and Egypt.”

JAKARTA, 23 June 2022, (TON): Indonesia’s top envoy said “Indonesian President Joko Widodo was set to meet his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to urge peace and help ease a global food crisis triggered by Moscow’s invasion.”

Four months into the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets, the conflict has delivered shockwaves to global supply chains.

The invasion has also stoked an energy crisis following international sanctions slapped on Russia, a major oil and gas producer, leading to rising inflation in many countries.

Widodo will be the first Asian leader to meet both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin since the war started.

Marsudi said “Widodo would visit Ukraine and Russia after attending the Group of Seven summit in Germany next week.”

CAIRO, 23 June 2022, (TON): Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have stressed the importance of the upcoming Arab-American Summit in Riyadh.

Their remarks came during a meeting between the president, the crown prince, Egypt’s deputy prime minister, and its defense minister at the Federal Palace in Cairo.

The Egyptian presidency said “the crown prince had praised Egypt's pivotal and firm role as a mainstay for security and stability in the region.”

The official presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said “the meeting discussed ways to enhance various aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries, especially at the economic and investment levels.”

By TON Nepal

Currently, Nepali trade importers use the southern route due to the changeable Chinese passage policy. Traders say they are wary of the frequently changing Chinese transit rules and promises which have caused them massive losses.

Nepali importers using the southern route due to vacillating Chinese transit policy Nepali traders of Chinese goods are bringing their shipments over the indirect southern route through India instead of the direct way across the northern border. As they don't know when it will be open or closed as per the on-again, off-again Chinese policy.

On March 25, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor had assured Nepali officials that trade between Nepal and China would be improved. However, traders say conveyance glitches still exist. Goods carried over the land route across the northern border may be held up at the point of the entrance as China does not allow full access to cargo vehicles working between the two countries, and traders.

Almost 80 percent of the traders are conveying their cargo by sea even though the route is longer. The Chinese foreign minister during his visit to Nepal had said that the number of vessels allowed to cross the border would be augmented, and trade will be made efficient. For time being the number of containers was increased immediately after the visit, but later the number was reduced again now.

China discharges not more than 15 trucks daily through each of the two border points. Due to bad practices in the past, traders have lost confidence in importing goods over the land route from China. Nepal-bound cargo trucks have been stuck for months on the Chinese side of the border.

Merchants have now started ordering goods targeting the Dashain and Tihar festivals. Hydropower equipment and fruits are being transported across the northern border in limited quantities while readymade garments, and electrical goods are coming over the sea route and through India.

For the last two years, deliveries from China have been arriving so late that they missed the festival shopping season. Traders who ordered goods in advance from China lost billions.

The traders have been shifting towards the sea route. However, it is due to potential floods and landslides during the rainy season in the northern route. Nepal’s export has been disappointing as the production of exportable goods is not enough. To increase exports, Nepal needs to increase production trade with China.

Nepal imported goods worth Rs226.8 billion in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year ended mid-May, up from Rs183.1 billion in the same period last fiscal year.

Exports to China stood at Rs674.4 million in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, down from Rs897.6 million in the same period last fiscal year. The trade deficit with the northern neighbor amounted to Rs226.1 billion in the first 10 months. In the last fiscal year, Nepal imported goods worth Rs233.9 billion while exporting goods valued at just Rs1 billion.

In the last fiscal year, Nepal bring in goods worth Rs233.9 billion while the transfer of goods was valued at just Rs1 billion. China is Nepal's second-largest trading partner after India. Merchants use the overland way across the northern border because deliveries arrive within two weeks and carriage is cheaper than the sea route and importing goods over the sea route takes 40–60 days.

As the monsoon has started, there are high chances of floods and landslides on the highway leading to the northern border, and this is another reason why traders have switched to the sea route. Exports to China through the northern border are almost zero.

Nepal's exports to China include incense sticks, handicrafts (metal and wooden), noodles, pashmina, readymade garments, leather goods, rudraksha, tanned skin, tea, wheat flour, and woolen carpets. China needs to consider Nepal as per the pledges it had made to ease the passage for trade, but that’s not happening,” said Chandra Ghimire, a former commerce secretary.

Nepal’s trade shortfall with China has increased to an untenable ratio of 1:300. Although it was assumed that following the transit treaty with China in 2018, Nepal’s exports to China would grow but exports to China fell after the signing of the transit treaty. The treaty never became practical and that’s very unlucky.

In April 2019, the two neighbors signed the procedure for applying for the Trade and Transportation Contract. The signing of the protocol meant Nepal could use four Chinese seaports in Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang, and Zhanjiang, and three land ports in Lanzhou, Lhasa, and Shigatse for third-country imports.

The contract also allowed Nepal to carry out exports through six decided transit points between Nepal and China. It’s been more than five years since the agreement was signed and over two years since the protocol was signed, but Nepal and China have yet to develop even the standard operating procedure for implementing the transit agreement.

As the Nepalese government failed in implementing the pact. The facility permitting third-country trade through China had also raised hopes that Nepal would finally be able to come out of its complete dependence on India.

For decades, Nepal has completely relied on India for its third-country trade for various reasons including historical relationships, open borders and road infrastructure. However, they sometimes have become a nuisance for Nepal because sometimes the barriers along the border lead to an acute shortage of goods in Nepal.

China closed its border points due to the pandemic in January 2020, and they have not been fully operationalized since then. China has made a number of pledges to relax the trade route. The closure of the Chinese border in early 2020 has affected a large number of Nepali financiers trading goods to China. So all they needs to revive not only the trade policies but to implement practically by both side Nepal and the China to benefit its citizens at large.

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