Podcast | Nepal-Switzerland relation | Land-lockedness | Economic opportunities | Foreign policy
In this fifth episode of the FSi podcast, we talk with Sushil Thapa, Vice-President of the Nepal-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the past three years, who shares how the Nepal-Swiss relation is obviously marked by shared commonalities between the two nations such as land-lockedness, federalism, mountains and the two countries similar stance in foreign policy.
In 2015, the Swiss Embassy took the initiative to establish the Nepal-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industries. “The chamber is focused on exploring and opening potential new trade and investment opportunities in Nepal and facilitates information, consultation, and promotional services for setting up joint venture investments in Nepal.”
During the flow of conversation, Thapa summarises different Swiss initiatives in Nepal ranging from livelihood initiatives to skill development programs, while highlighting that, unlike other countries, the Swiss cooperation has no vested interest.
There are many lessons we can learn from Switzerland as a country, its business community, and the country’s economic development path despite being a smaller country than Nepal, both in geography and population, Thapa explains during the conversation.
Nepal’s imports from Switzerland fell to Rs. 2.2 billion in the fiscal year 2022/23, which was almost eight billion rupees in 2021/22. Similarly, the exports value was Rs 599 million in the fiscal year 2022/23 and Rs 499 million in 2021/22.
Nepal-Swiss trade figures aren’t that huge. Yet if grey trading is accounted for, we actually import a larger amount of Swiss goods than what the official figure shows, explains Thapa while dissecting the trade figures between the two countries.
Nepal on the other hand faces several export constraints when it comes to connecting with the Swiss market, Thapa shares.
[Thapa is also the Managing Editor at Medicos Next, a health and medical magazine in Nepal, and founder of the Healing Kathmandu initiative.]
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