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China’s vaccine diplomacy in Nepal hits hurdle over clause on info secrecy

China‘s vaccine diplomacy could hit a hurdle in Nepal. Officials in Nepal have admitted that procuring vaccines from China does not look as easy as it sounds.

China’s condition that Nepal sign a non-disclosure agreement for commercial procurement has put the Nepalese government officials in a fix, people in the know in Kathmandu told ET. A non-disclosure agreement implies a legally binding contract establishing a confidential relationship, which would mean many details, including the price, are not made public.

Specifications in a non-disclosure agreement could also include trade secrets, intellectual property, product formulas, information about products under development, computer code, financial information, contractual agreements with other companies and proprietary information. “The company (Chinese vaccine maker Sinopharm) will notify us about the quantity, price and delivery schedule only after signing a non-disclosure agreement,” an Nepalese government official told the Kathmandu Post newspaper.

An official at Nepal’s Public Procurement Monitoring Office told the Kathmandu Post that except in a situation where the government decides to procure defence-related materials, details of procurement must be disclosed as per local law.