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Pakistan, US to sign investment treaty soon

Pakistan Times

14 September 2004

Pakistan, US to sign investment treaty soon

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States will soon sign a bilateral investment treaty. Officials at the Board of Investment (BoI) disclosed this at a meeting with Alan Larson, the US under secretary, who called on Dr Hafeez Shaikh, federal minister for privatisation and investment, on Monday.

The BOI officials said at the meeting that the officials of Pakistan and the United States are coordinating to prepare the required framework for the signing of the investment treaty.

During the meeting the privatization and investment minister informed the US delegation that the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) has doubled during the past three years, which is approaching $1 billion this year.

Dr Shaikh said that the structural reforms has encouraged investors in all sectors as Pakistan is poised for high growth and allowed free flow of capital. In a presentation to the delegation, the minister said that the consistency and continuity of economic, investment and privatisation reforms policies had started yielding the results with a stable exchange rate, 6.4 percent GDP growth, and the status of the best performing stock exchange in the region. He also said pace of privatisation has picked up with receipts of Rs 33 billion on average per year as compared with the previous performance of Rs 6 billion per year during the first decade of privatisation and Rs 12 billion per year during the first three years of the government of President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan’s liberal investment policy provided level playing field for local and foreign investors with 100 percent foreign equity and no restriction on remittances of profit and capital, he said.

He stated that currently 57 US companies members of American Business Council of Pakistan were operating in Pakistan with 37.7 percent FDI from the US, which would further increase through potential investment from US investors in oil and gas, manufacturing and services, agriculture, pharmaceutical and communication sectors. The participation by US investors in the privatisation program of Pakistan was another effective way to enter into Pakistani market through most transparent process.

Mr Larson lauded the government efforts undertaken through economic reforms and stated that Pakistan would be an emerging market tiger in the region. He expressed keen interest in the privatisation program and assured US support in the transformation of economic reforms and to promote investment in most of the sectors including pharmaceutical, infrastructure and agriculture sectors. John Duncan special assistant, Christian R. De Angelis, deputy economic counselor, and others US officials also accompanied the delegation. staff report