Nepal signs long-term fuel supply deal with China

Nepal and China have agreed to sign a long-term petroleum agreement for the Himalayan nation to import fuel from China.

A consensus to this effect was reached during a meeting between Nepal's deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs Kamal Thapa and China's foreign minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Friday. Thapa is on a weeklong visit to China.

According to a member of the Nepali delegation, a two-member team from the ministry of commerce and supplies and the Nepali Oil Corporation has also reached Beijing to explore immediate possibilities of importing fuel.

''Overcoming the harsh geographical and environmental conditions, for the first time, we have agreed to supply fuel to Nepal that it urgently needs. Foreign minister Thapa and I have reached broad consensus [to this effect],'' said Yang in a joint press meet in Beijing.

In response, Thapa said, ''I am happy to note that the government of China has instructed the concerned petroleum export authority to be in touch [with the Nepali side] and discuss issues related to long-term fuel trade between the two countries.''

A press statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs stated that China has expressed its willingness to seriously examine Nepal's proposals for the import of petroleum products from China and has advised the respective companies of the two countries to jointly examine the matters relating to price, transportation and other logistics.

Earlier in the day, Nepal's finance secretary Lok Darshan Regmi and Zhang Xiangchen, vice minister of commerce of China, signed the agreement on economic and technical cooperation.

Under the agreement, China would make available 900 million RMB (approx Nepali Rs1,475 crore) as grant assistance for the implementation of the projects of repair and maintenance of Araniko Highway and other projects of interconnection and interworking. This assistance was announced by the Chinese President during his meeting with his Nepalese counterpart in March 2015 in Boao, Hainan.

Thanking the government of China for extending generous support to Nepal's socioeconomic development over the years, DPM Thapa also appreciated the spontaneous and prompt support received from China in the aftermath of the 25 April earthquake of Nepal.