Ms Doreen P. Bailey, the U.S economic officer, admitted on Tuesday that there existed vast potential in Pakistan to become a developed economy but it was only suffering due to lack of technology.

Addressing a meeting at the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association’s office, she said that her country believed that strong business ties were vital for maintaining long-term and sustainable relations with Pakistan.

She termed Pakistan an important country of the region. “The US is keen and taking all possible measures to remove the hurdles coming in the way of expanded Pakistan-US economic relationship. We want to further deepen and expand trade, investment and economic relations with Pakistan,” she added.

Ms Doreen said that the US wanted to help Pakistan in energy sector and entrepreneurship development as progress in these areas will put Pakistan on the path to economic growth. Pakistan is a potential market for entrepreneurs as a many US-based companies are doing good business in the country, she said. However, she stressed that Pakistani private sector should push for further regulatory reforms that are needed to foster greater trade and investment opportunities. She was optimistic that resumption of Pakistan-US strategic dialogue would pave the way for faster, deeper, boarder and more comprehensive partnership between the two countries.

She stressed the need for making an all-out effort to highlight Pakistan’s potential so that the foreign investors could invest in sectors of their choice. Earlier, Sheikh Ilyas Mehmood, the chairman of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association, lauded the US efforts for cooperating with Pakistan in energy sector. Cooperation in trade, investment and industrial growth should be the main focus of both the countries as they can achieve better results by developing collaboration in these areas, he said.

He added, “Pakistan’s exports to the US ranges from 3.7 billion dollars to 4 billion dollars, making it our biggest trading partner. We do have capacity to increase the level to more than 6 billion dollars but it requires not only greater access to US market but also some transfer of technology. The US should enhance the scope of GSP scheme to our textile products that would help further improve our exports to the US which is already Pakistan’s single largest export market taking almost 16 percent of our total exports. Pakistan offers attractive joint ventures and investment opportunities in different sectors of its economy and the US investors should come to Pakistan to explore these areas for investment.”

He said that a Free Trade Agreement between Washington and Islamabad was of utmost importance and the US policy makers should give some attention towards the particular area. “US businessmen should invest in Pakistan as it is not only a huge market of 180 million people, but is also a gateway to landlocked Central Asian countries,” he said and stressed the need for exchanging business delegations to open new avenues of mutual cooperation and to further strengthen bilateral relations.

The PTEA chairman added that the quality of Pakistani textile products was better than others and the prices were also very competitive. “The US must pay some special attention to Pakistan which is considerably contributing to the US economy,” he said.

JI criticises govt policies: Jamat Islami Punjab Naib Ameer Ameerul Azeem has said that the PML-N had failed to give any relief to the masses during last four-month rule as its leaders had promised during election campaign.

While addressing JI’s office bearers in Garden Town here the other day, he said that great burden had been put on the shoulders of poor people through price hike and raise in prices of petroleum products. He warned that if situation continued people would be forced to come on roads. JI leaders included Dr Zahid Sattar, Dr Maqbool Ahmad, Mian Wakil Ahmad and Soofi Rashid were also present on the occasion.