ISLAMABAD: The 8th Pakistan – US Trade & Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council Meeting is being held at Islamabad tomorrow, 18th October, 2016.

The US delegation will be led by Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative (USTR) and will include Ambassador David Hale, Mr. Matthew Vogel, Deputy USTR & Mr. Michael Delaney, AUSTR & Ms. Zeba Reyazuddin, Director South & Central Asia, USTR among others.

The Pakistan delegation will be led by Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Commerce, and will include Mr. Azmat Ranjha, Secretary Commerce, Mr. Asad Hayauddin, Additional Secretary Commerce, and Mr. Ali Tahir, Trade Minister at Washington D.C.

TIFA was signed by Pakistan & USA in 2003. TIFA Council is the Apex body tasked with developing trade and investment relations between Pakistan & the United States, and resolving outstanding issues between the two countries.  In the upcoming meeting, the two sides will discuss, ways and means to improve access of Pakistani exports to the United States, including textiles, agricultural, and other products, enforcement of intellectual Property Rights in Pakistan, Dispute Resolution mechanisms, opening up of defence procurement by US Government in Afghanistan to Pakistani companies, holding the next Business Opportunities Conference in Pakistan, and other matters.

The Pakistani side will apprise the visiting delegation about the improved economic & security situation in the country, and the pressing need for the US government to revisit its travel advisories regime for US businessmen, as the most critical step towards improving bilateral trade & investment.

Sources in the Commerce Ministry said the trade volume between the two countries has not been growing in accordance with its potential. It is now time to review these advisories to provide businesses from both sides to connect freely and also put an end to discrimination against Pakistan, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage for exports to the US, vis a vis other countries in the region  and the rest of the world.