AS the meeting of Prime Minister Imran Khan with US President Donald Trump proved to be important one in breaking the ice and resetting the relationship, it is heartening to note the desire of the US side to engage with Pakistan for promotion of economic relations.
A US delegation led by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells held a meeting with Adviser on Finance Hafeez Sheikh on Tuesday during which he was briefed about the country’s economic reforms agenda. Alice G Wells said the US would continue to remain engaged with Pakistan in its economic reforms efforts and help build an environment that facilitates business development between the two countries. Certainly, the focus of present government of Pakistan is also on trade and economic relations whilst the US President during his interaction with PM Imran Khan had also talked about the great potential that exists between the two countries in economic sphere. Therefore, we expect that both the sides will now be interacting and engaging more frequently and deeply to achieve the objective put forth by their leadership. According to the US State Department’s recent report, Pakistan remains an attractive market for US Companies due to favourable demographics, English language skills, low labour costs and natural resources; however, there are real trade and investment barriers that limit the ability of US Companies to enter the market and grow their businesses in Pakistan. Already PTI government has tried to ensure ease of doing business and we expect that it will be doing more to attract maximum investment from important countries such as the United States as their investment will also come with technology transfer in different fields that will immensely benefit the country. Overall US-Pakistan trade in 2018 reached a record high of $6.6 billion, an increase of 4 per cent from the previous year and indeed by bringing value addition, Pakistan can substantially enhance its exports to the US. We understand there is desire on both the sides to bolster their economic relationship which will augur well for developing a relationship truly based on mutual interest and respect. Also most importantly as Pakistan has made significant progress over the last one year to meet the action of plan of FATF and took some serious actions against banned outfits and to check terror financing and money laundering, we expect that the US will also be forthcoming in supporting Pakistan get out of the grey list of the international watch dog.