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‘IPR laws can expedite investment pact with US’

Daily Times, Pakistan

30 September 2004

‘IPR laws can expedite investment pact with US’

By Shaukat Piracha

ISLAMABAD: The United States has said that the introduction and enforcement of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) laws and the resolution of existing investment disputes in Pakistan can expedite a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries. A senior official of the US Embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday explained the various pre-requisites for a formal bilateral investment treaty with Pakistan.

“There are certain problems that are stalling a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries. We want to see the introduction and better enforcement of IPRs and the resolution of investment disputes, particularly in the energy sector,” he said. “We would also like Pakistan to enforce laws on optical disks to check piracy. All these initiatives will pave the way for the early signing of a bilateral investment treaty and a free trade agreement between the two countries,” he said. US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Commerce Minister Hamayun Akhtar Khan, who is currently visiting the United States, announced on Tuesday that the two countries would begin negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty.

“We have just completed work on our (US) model of the bilateral investment treaty. It includes a solid mechanism for international arbitration to secure our investment,” he added. The official said that signing the bilateral investment treaty with Pakistan fit into the overall objectives of the United States to enhance its relationship with Pakistan and expand that relationship into trade, commerce and economic cooperation.

He said the treaty would further increase the process of the US-Pakistan trade and investment framework agreement and would lead to free trade agreements between the two countries. To a question regarding Pakistan’s demand for increased US market access for its products, particularly textile goods, the official said that the end of the Multi-Fibre Agreement under the World Trade Organisation by the end of the year would provide better opportunities to Pakistan. “We also want Pakistan to diversify its exports,” he added.