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At the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Nepalese global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Nepal.

Going one level deeper at 4-digit HTS codes, Nepal’s most valuable exported good is yarn made from synthetic staple fibers ($74.7 million). Trailing that were textile floor coverings including carpets ($67.2 million) followed by fruit or vegetable juices ($45.4 million), spices including nutmeg ($43.5 million), synthetic yarn woven fabrics ($30.8 million), packing sacks or bags ($28 million) tied with tea including flavored varieties ($28 million).

  1. Coffee, tea, spices: US$78.7 million (10.6% of total exports)
  2. Manmade staple fibers: $75 million (10.1%)
  3. Textile floor coverings: $68.8 million (9.3%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $58.7 million (7.9%)
  5. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $45.5 million (6.1%)
  6. Iron, steel: $42.6 million (5.8%)
  7. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $32.3 million (4.4%)
  8. Manmade filaments: $30.9 million (4.2%)
  9. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $30.7 million (4.2%)
  10. Paper yarn, woven fabric: $26.6 million (3.6%)

Nepal’s top 10 exports account for roughly two-thirds (66.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Manmade staple fibers was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 36.8% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was paper yarn and woven fabric which rose 33%.

Nepalese food industry waste and animal fodder posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 30.6%.

The greatest decliner among the top 10 Nepalese export categories was the textile floor coverings category, down -8.5% year over year.

Advantage of Nepal

The following types of Nepalese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Textile floor coverings: US$62 million (Down by -7.3% since 2016)
  2. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $19.2 million (Down by -0.8%)
  3. Manmade filaments: $17.3 million (Down by -10.5%)
  4. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $15.9 million (Up by 6.3%)
  5. Felt, yarn, twine, ropes, cables: $13.3 million (Up by 8.2%)
  6. Vegetable plaiting materials: $8.9 million (Up by 51.7%)
  7. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $7.5 million (Up by 18.2%)
  8. Woodpulp: $6.7 million (Up by 8.0%)
  9. Collector items, art, antiques: $6.3 million (Up by 15.3%)
  10. Meat: $3.5 million (Up by 36.9%)

Nepal has highly positive net exports in the international trade of carpets and other textile floor coverings. In turn, these cashflows indicate Nepal’s strong competitive advantages under the textile floor coverings category.

Opportunity in Nepal

Nepal incurred an overall -$9.3 billion trade deficit for 2017, up by 14.1% from -$8.1 billion one year earlier.

Below are exports from Nepal that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Nepal’s goods trail Nepalese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.5 billion (Up by 44.3% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$911.6 million (Up by 25.3%)
  3. Iron, steel: -$905.2 million (Up by 12.4%)
  4. Vehicles: -$712.9 million (Down by -19.5%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$652 million (Down by -4.4%)
  6. Cereals: -$409.6 million (Up by 1.8%)
  7. Gems, precious metals: -$367 million (Up by 77.1%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: -$358.9 million (Up by 9.6%)
  9. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$317.9 million (Up by 40.5%)
  10. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$297.2 million (Up by 23.2%)

Nepal has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category. Notable loss leaders are refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.