Chairman Pak-US Business Council Iftikhar Ali Malik Wednesday urged the visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for Joint Ventures (JVs) in economic sphere and free direct market access to Pakistan at zero duty in the wake of war against terrorism.

In a statement issued here, he said US should convene meeting of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to move forward for result oriented progress .

There was already a GSP plus status for Pakistan in the US but new steps could be taken for getting maximum benefits of trade preferential facility, he added.

Iftikhar said that Pakistan needed to opt the model of joint ventures on the pattern of Egypt and some African countries to enhance trade ties with biggest economies like the US.

He said the last meeting of TIFA was held in May last in which both sides had discussed ways to improve access to products such as agricultural goods and medicines in either markets.

He said Pakistan had been keen to explore potential trade concessions as it could import more US cotton in return for preferential US market access for its apparel export.

A preferential Trade Agreement (FTA) could be a long goal because of complexity involved in the process, he said and added that the TIFA framework provided an institutional mechanism to carry forward those discussions and come up with new ideas.

He urged the US to remove the bottlenecks in bilateral investment treaty and efforts should now be made to better FTA and it was now imperative that the US should offer same package and incentives which it offers to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in textile exports, such as duty concessions and market access.

“There must be an incentive package for Pakistan for being a front-line state in combating terrorism with the US.

He said that Pakistan was time tested friend and suffered colossal irreparable economic losses running in billions of dollars in war on terrorism in the region.

He further said visa restrictions should be eased for the Pakistani businessmen and exporters and joint efforts were needed to further cement the existing economic ties between Pakistan and US private sector.

Pakistan and US were enjoying amicable relationship and coalition partners against war on terror, he added.

Iftikhar Ali Malik who is also president designate SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman United Business Group (UBG) said Pakistan was emerging as a fast developing and modern republic in South Asia.

He urged Pakistani-American businessmen to avail immense business potential in Pakistan as well.

He said it was now world record that Pakistan had been hosting 2.7 million Afghan refugees for forty years.

Razak invites US companies to invest in Pakistan

Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries and Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood Wednesday said that this was high time for United States’ (US) companies to invest in Pakistan for increasing bilateral economic and trade relations.

The advisor told the visiting delegation that after achieving economic stability, the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was now focusing on job creation and export augmentation by encouraging foreign investments, said a press release issued by Ministry of Commerce here.

During a meeting with US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, the Advisor, Abdul Razak Dawood discussed the issues related to bilateral trade and enhanced market access to Pakistan.

The US secretary’s visit is outcome of recently held discussions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Donald Trump to promote bilateral trade and enhanced economic engagements.

Razak also took up the issue of early convening of the long awaited 9th session of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting as well as the visit of US business delegation to Pakistan to participate in the Business Opportunities Conference in order to forge a better networking among the private sectors of both countries.

The advisor also suggested that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) should help in developing of new businesses in Pakistan.

On the occasion Wilbur Ross said that his visit to Pakistan was a part of his government’s desire to increase trade relations with Pakistan.

He also believed that such links between the two counties would not only enhance trade but encourage further expansion of ties in all fields of economic engagement.

About IDFC assistance, Secretary Ross sounded positive and suggested that Ministry of Commerce should propose projects in that regard.

The US Secretary of Commerce also called on Minister for Energy, Omar Ayub Khan.

The minister gave an overview of Pakistan’s energy sector and the present government’s earnest endeavors in reforming this sector.

These efforts were being personally overseen by the Prime Minister of Pakistan himself, he added.

Omar Ayub Khan called for greater US investment in energy sector including areas such as power generation, transmission and distribution, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, hydel energy and training opportunities.

The minister also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to cleaner fuels and green energy. The Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum, Nadeem Babar informed the visiting side on key actions taken to improve ease of doing business in Pakistan.

The SAPM also shared how more US investments could be incremental in improving the business relations between the US and Pakistan.

The two sides agreed to step up cooperation in the energy sector.