International The News - 27 February 2020
Pakistan seeks direct US market access
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 market.
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.