FAISALABAD - The US is committed to establishing ROZs in Pakistan and a high level delegation of trade representatives is visiting Pakistan next week to have talks on Free Trade Agreement and market access to promote bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries, said Jimmy Mauldin, Economic Officer, US Embassy Islamabad while addressing leading textile exporters here at Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) here. Addressing the meeting, the US envoy said that there were a lot of opportunities in this economic environment. Pakistan has vast potential in textiles and we have traditional trade and economic relations between the two countries. Business-to-business ties between the US and Pakistan are very important, he pointed out. Jimmy Mauldin said that the role of Pakistan in the war against terror was exemplary and his country was highly appreciative of the efforts of Pakistan. He expressed the hope that the US would not only compensate but also actively economically support Pakistan for the losses it has suffered in this war so far. Robert Hawkins, Economic Officer, US Consulate General Lahore said that the main object of their visit was to know the challenges hindering the promotion of textile exports to the US and how overcome these challenges. Answering a question, Jimmy said the US was not taking Pakistan as problematic country rather an honourable tested friend for our support with a lot of opportunities for tomorrow. He said that the US understands that Pakistan has suffered a lot and world community must give it a helping hand to overcome its economic problems. Welcoming the guests, PTEA Chairman Wasim Latif said that Pakistan and the US have been enjoying close friendly relations since the independence of the former in all spheres of life. It is therefore natural that the US is the major trade partner of Pakistan. Share of exports to US is 20% of our total exports. Exports of home textiles to the US market is around $1.5 billion plus and over the last five years home textile exports to the US have declined from $1.6 billion in 2006-07 to $1.39 billion in 2010-11, he said. He said that the home textile exports from Pakistan to the US could not be increased due to various challenges in the bilateral trade. Highlighting the challenges, he said that foremost of the challenges is high custom tariff on Pakistani textiles in the US. Pakistani textiles are subjected to more than 10% custom duty. Our exports are unable to compete in the face of zero percent duty on Bangladeshi and less than 10% tariff on Sri Lankan & Indian export. Delays due to extraordinary examination and clearance of our consignments at the US ports are another challenge for Pakistani textile exports, he said. He also mention the important role of Pakistan in combating terrorism which has proved the country as the time-tested and true ally of the US for establishing and promoting peace in the world. It is unfortunate that this devoted contribution of Pakistan has not been materialized in terms of increased economic cooperation, he lamented. The PTEA chairman recalled that during the war with Russia, Pakistan was allowed GSP plus facility for its textile exports but during the current war on terror no such facility has been offered to the country despite huge losses it has suffered so far, he argued, adding that on the contrary the EU offered zero rates on textile imports from Pakistan for three years when this war on terror started. Wasim Latif pointed out that economical growth and stability are the real weapon to fight poverty and eventually war on terror. He asked the visiting US dignitaries to press their government offer Pakistani textiles exports zero tariff concession to help revive the war-ravaged and calamity-stricken economy of the country which would also result in sustaining the huge cost of war on terror. He suggested that free market access to Pakistani exports would provide an opportunity to strengthen economic base to face the prevailing daunting challenges. Later, the PTEA chairman honoured the distinguish guests with shields.