Pakistan seeks free access to US markets



Business community Sunday hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan s upcoming visit to United States of America (USA) would bring both the countries closer and help exploring new venues for mutual cooperation besides seeking direct access to American markets on zero rate duty to help stabilize its bleak economy.

In a press statement issued on Sunday, Founder Chairman Pak-US business Council Iftikhar Ali Malik said Pakistan needs immediate direct access to US markets and not aid as it has suffered irreparable colossal financial loss for playing frontline role in the war on terror and US must support Pakistan to achieve its economic prosperity and self-reliance.

He said joint efforts are needed to further cement the existing economic ties between Pakistan and US private sector. He said Pakistan and US are enjoying amicable relationship and coalition partners against war on terror.

He also demanded that the US president Donald Trump should announce packages of incentives for the quick revival of the Pakistani economy as the country has also suffered losses a lot economically in the war against terror. Iftikhar Malik who is also Senior Vice President of SAARC Chamber said that USA is the largest trading partner of Pakistan with trade volume US $ 6.7 billion. He said Pakistan s major exports to United States are sports goods, surgical goods, leather and finished leather products, textile, cotton yarn, garments, carpets, and rice. Pakistan s main imports from United States are electrical machinery, equipment, medicines, dry fruits, perfumes, coffee, mangoes, dates and other food items, he added.

He also called for need of negotiation on bilateral investment treaty for promotion of investment. He suggested the United States and Pakistan should expand cooperation on the 2013 Joint Action Plan on Trade and Investment as the United States remains Pakistan s largest bilateral export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment.

He said the USA should remove the bottlenecks in bilateral investment treaty and efforts should now be made on signing a free trade agreement (FTA) at the earliest and it was now imperative that the USA should offer same package and incentives which it offered to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in textile exports, such as duty concessions and market access,” said a press release issued here.

“There must be an incentive package for Pakistan for being a front-line state in combating terrorism with the USA. There is a need for duty cut and market access for Pakistani textile goods to the USA,” he added.

He further said visa restrictions should be eased for the Pakistani businessmen and exporters and joint efforts were needed to further strengthen the existing economic ties between Pakistan and US private sector. Iftikhar urged the need to restore relations to the level of pre 9/11 days, adding that good relations between the US and the Muslim Ummah would help restore confidence and attain world peace.

With South Asia becoming the hub of international economic activity, restoration of peace in the region is all the more necessary, he concluded.

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