Monday, November 7, 2005
‘Pakistan-US FTA would help quake recovery’
WASHINGTON: A free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and the United States would help Pakistan cope with the impact of the devastating earthquake of October 8, said Ed Gillespie, former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), on Saturday.
“This is an important time to make the point (for a free trade deal) and thus we will help benefit Pakistan in the recovery,” Gillespie told reporters at a fundraiser at the house of prominent Pakistani-American.
“In the long term, it is an economic relationship that helps foster economic growth, and increases the quality of life for the people of Pakistan. In the short term, aid and funding is very important and critical to help rebuild infrastructure, meet needs for food and medicine, and supplies to the people devastated by the earthquake. But in the long term, it will have a lasting impact if a trade relationship that allows the people of Pakistan to provide goods and services in our market place,” he said.
“An FTA will help,” he said. “We have seen trade agreements and relationships take effect. We have seen where it does make a positive impact.”
Asked to comment on the Bush administration’s initiative to involve the private sector in assistance for Pakistan, Gillespie said this showed “ how important the administration in our country considers our relationship with Pakistan”.
He said he was not surprised that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went to Pakistan so soon after the earthquake tragedy. Pakistan “is a very important country with a proud history, culture and one whose friendship with the United States is important, in the mutual interest,” he said.