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Pakistan, US enhance cooperation: Teams formed to finalise trade, economic issues

Daily Times (Pakistan) | 13 September 2007

Pakistan, US enhance cooperation: Teams formed to finalise trade, economic issues

By Sajid Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States (US) on Wednesday constituted sub-groups of high officials from both the countries to pave the way for early finalisation of issues regarding trade and economic cooperation, a government official told Daily Times on Wednesday.

The strategic dialogues between the government of Pakistan and US were held here on Wednesday at the foreign office between the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and local officials.

The official informed that during the meeting sub-groups have been constituted to discuss matters with the concerned ministries. The US delegation discussed in detail issues relating to different ministries including money laundering, intellectual property rights, bilateral investment treaties, Reconstruction Opportunity Zones in FATA and data exclusivity on pharma products.

The meeting also finalised the arrangement for the Economic Forum meeting to be held in October 2007 at Washington DC. The roadmap has been developed to resolve the bilateral issues, which will be expanded after the Economic Forum.

The official informed that the US government has placed Pakistan in its priority watch list due to IPR violations in Pakistan. It was decided by the US authorities that mid-term review would be held in Pakistan during September to review the updated situations to rate the country’s standing in the countries protecting Intellectual Property Right (IPR).

The current visit of the US authorities would help them reach a conclusion that whether Pakistan should remain in priority watch list or anywhere else.

Explaining the pending issues relating to the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), the official informed that the US is urging Pakistan to accept a harsh provision in BIT that all economic decisions are vetted at Washington well before formal issuance of the notification by Pakistan’s concerned ministry.

This has been demanded as a metre of transparency to be ensured in BIT implementation period, which is still being negotiated between the two countries. Pakistan has not accepted this harsh provision due to its negative effects on Pakistan and its decision making process in bilateral issues. The US wants arbitration under proposed Pak-US BIT at US under Pakistani law.

The BIT negotiations between Pakistan and US have shown no positive results and more rounds of consultations at top levels between the two countries would be held to narrow the differences, said an official.

 source: Daily Times