National Trading Limited (NTL) was established as a public limited company in March 1962 A.D. under the Nepal Company Act, in public sector completely owned Government of Nepal. NTL was created in order to canalize commodity aids from the People's Republic of China and USSR with a view to meet the local cost of development projects initiated by these countries through the sale of aids goods in the domestic market. Previously, this function was handled by the Department of Commerce, GoN.

In order to create a better channel to serve the growing needs of the national economy and the people at large, through the regular supply of essential goods at reasonable prices, GoN set up the NTL as a state Trading Organization. It was entrusted with the functions of engaging on all kinds of trading activities including quota goods to be imported from India for the purpose of establishing domestic prices, regularizing the supply of basic construction materials, industrial raw materials, machinery and equipment, and consumer goods. As NTL began to procure goods from diverse sources and also as it was exporting to diverse markets, NTL through its activities definitely did support the country's policy of trade diversification.