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Foreign Direct Investment in Nepal

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Foreign Direct Investment in Nepal

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  • October 2011
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Nepal had attracted modest FDI in niche sectors such as tourism, herbal products, mineral deposits (lime stone), and light manufacturing apparel; hydro power and that it had positive impacts on exports, particularly garments. FDI has also enabled the country to export non- traditional manufactured products such as micro-transformers and personal consumer products (UNCTAD, 2003b). Investment was mainly in low-technology, labour-intensive production. The impact of FDI had also been modest, primarily in job creation. According to the study, FDI inflow was constrained by political instability, outdated foreign investment law, rigid labour regulations and poor physical infrastructure. This situation remains current due to political instability and political transition. FDI is considered beneficial in view of its contribution to technological transfers, enhancement of managerial capability and new opportunities for market access. FDI, particularly in the form of equity investment, adds to the capital stock of the country and thus enables the recipient country to achieve faster economic growth through momentum in capital formation. Increases in FDI are also seen as leading to increases in exports by creating international markets through new marketing and organizational skills. The inflow of FDI in Nepal began in the early 1980s through the gradual opening up of the economy. From 1980 to 1989, FDI inflows to Nepal were minimal with an annual average of US$ 500,000. FDI inflow showed a distinct acceleration during the 1990s averaging US$ 11 million per annum during 1990-2000, peaking at US$ 23 million in 1997 (UNCTAD, 2003b and 2006). This was primarily due to Nepal¶s more liberal trade policies, which comprised tariff rate reductions, the introduction of a duty drawback scheme, the adoption of a current account convertibility system and liberalization of the exchange rate regime. A reversal in the rising trend took place from the beginning of the 2000s. All in all,...