The Nation (Pakistan) | October 24, 2012
Govt depts unwilling to sign BIT
By: Maqbool Malik
ISLAMABAD — Despite US desires to sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with Pakistan without any delay, various government institutions still seem not on the same page making it a serious headache for the ruling PPP to get it through at the earliest.
“We are committed to sign the BIT with Pakistan immediately, and are ready to address any concern of Pakistani institutions”, Robert Ewing, Economic Affairs Consular in the US Embassy told here on Monday.
While sharing his feedback on the London Investment Conference held on October 5, he said it provided an extremely good networking opportunity for the US and Pakistani investors. “We believe we concluded all negotiations in August. We fully respect Pakistan’s internal consultations; we are concerned by the delay”, he said in response to a query.
He said that US firmly believes that Treaty would signal that Pakistan is open for business, leading to greater investment and more jobs. The Treaty would demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to the rule of law, transparency and other policies that support a welcoming investment climate. “Greater investment in Pakistan would create more jobs in Pakistan. We note Pakistan already has a number of Bilateral Investment Treaties” he added.
The BIT, he said, would support and boost other Pakistani efforts to attract more investment, from the London Investment Conference, to USAID’s Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, which will use US Government funding to help launch investment funds to invest in Pakistani businesses and help create jobs.
As regards concerns of any Pakistani institution, he said that US respects Pakistan’s internal review, adding that the United States would welcome a written description of Pakistan’s concerns on the Bilateral Investment Treaty, which the US negotiating team would be pleased to discuss in Washington or London.
He was of the firmed opinion that the “essential security” article in the Bilateral Investment Treaty gives Pakistan very broad authority to undertake any measure it considers necessary to protect its security interests.
This article gives assurance that the Bilateral Investment Treaty respects national security policy and actions.