A robust US-Pak relationship is more important than ever to bolster the economy of Pakistan, which is recovering from devastating floods, the Biden Administration has said. Speaking at the daily news conference, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters said that the robust trade relations between the US and Pakistan is also providing business opportunities for the Americans.
“We believe that a robust trade relationship between the United States and Pakistan is more important than ever to bolster Pakistan's economic stability as it recovers from devastating floods, while at the same time also providing opportunity to Americans and to American businesses in this country, exposing them to new markets, Pakistani markets in this case,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.
A delegation of Pakistani officials is here in town for the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council ministerial meeting, which was Co-chaired by US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and Pakistan’s Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar. The meeting is being held after a gap of eight years.
“Our trade relationship with Pakistan has helped both Pakistani industries and consumers. We have long been Pakistan's largest export market, with potential for even further growth; hence, the meeting today. We believe there is great potential to expand bilateral trade with Pakistan further, particularly in energy, agricultural equipment and products, franchising, retail trade, information and communications technology, products and services,” Tai said.
“We have been a leading investor in Pakistan for the past two decades and in the past year, our investments have increased by some 50 percent. US investment in Pakistan is the highest it's been in over a decade, and US corporations have announced more than USD1.5 billion in investment plans in Pakistan since 2019,” Price said.
“US companies and their local affiliates, moreover, are among Pakistan's largest employers, with roughly 80 US companies directly employing more than 120,000 Pakistanis. The Office of the Trade Representative may have additional details following this ministerial, so you may reach out to them as well,” he said.
According to a USTR statement, the officials engaged on trade- and investment-related issues and concerns, including agriculture, digital trade, intellectual property protection and enforcement, labor rights, good regulatory practices, and women’s economic empowerment. Both governments resolved to increase dialogue on these topics, in order to deepen the economic bilateral relationship and further the prosperity of working people in both countries, a media release said.
During the meeting the US appreciated the efforts by Pakistan to improve worker rights and protections and strengthen its intellectual property regime. Both sides affirmed the importance of an effective IP regime, achieving high labor standards, and following good regulatory practices, it said.
The US welcomed the substantive conclusion of technical work on market access for beef from the United States; the ministers noted that work to operationalise this arrangement would be expedited. Pakistan welcomed the ongoing engagement on market access for its mangoes and fresh dates and asked the US to review additional market access requests for agricultural products once the current work is complete.