News Digest: International Relations & Foreign Affairs (February 3 – 9, 2022)

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Nepal received 800,000 doses of Astra Zeneca Covid-19 vaccines from the U.K. through the COVAX facility on February 8. This is a part of 2.1 million AstraZeneca vaccines that the U.K. pledged to provide Nepal.

50,000 metric tons of urea and 63,535 metric tons of DAP fertilizer imports have been halted due to the Chinese policy of stopping fertilizer exports. Diplomatic efforts at the government level have not been successful. As per the Agricultural Material Company, Chinese fertilizer producers were selling chemical fertilizers in the world market while Nepal was processing the contract. However, contractors refused to supply the fertilizer, saying that the government had stopped exporting.

Minister for Labor, Employment, and Social Security is visiting UAE to negotiate with the UAE government to manage stranded Nepali nationals visiting UAE on tourist and other visas.

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki has said that the government will resolve the border issues through necessary diplomatic initiatives. He said that the government was always trying to solve the problems in the border areas. He also clarified that such issues are studied and resolved through the dedicated mechanism.

Nepal has an enormous trade deficit with China. Nepal purchased NRS 233.93 billion worth of goods from China in 2020-21, while it exported NRS 1 billion. This equated to a trade deficit of Rs 232. 90 billion, accounting for 14 percent of Nepal’s overall trade deficit in the fiscal year 2020-21.

A letter from the ruling coalition to the MCC headquarters in Washington, D.C., has been made public. The letter expressed the commitment to pass the MCC by the parliament. Prime Minister Deuba and Chairman of CPN (Maoist-Center) jointly signed the letter and sent it to the MCC Board in Washington DC on September 29.

In response to the letter sent to the MCC board by the ruling coalition leaders, MCC has indicated that further delays in ratifying MCC may result in severe consequences like reductions in aid and foreign direct investments from the U.S. and other countries. Further, the board has set February 28 as the deadline to ratify MCC.

Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway will operate from the second week of February. The railway service covers 35 kilometers distance from Jaynagar to Kurtha in Janakpur. The fare for the railway service is Rs. 70 per person in the regular class and Rs 300 per person in the A.C. class.

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