WASHINGTON: Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar said the Pakistan-US Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) ministerial meeting is crucial to enhancing bilateral trade, which is a focus of relations between the two countries. He also welcomed the high-level meeting of the group which is being revived after almost eight years.
The minister met US Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington to discuss ways and means for enhancing Pak-US bilateral trade.
Dilawar Sayed was accompanied by Elizabeth Horst, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pakistan, Brian J. McGrath and Jeff Rubenstein. Ambassador Masood Khan, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui, Secretary BOI Asad Gilani and Minister (Trade) Azmat Mahmood assisted the Commerce Minister.
The minister of commerce is visiting Washington DC to attend the TIFA ministerial meeting which will be held tomorrow. The last TIFA ministerial meeting was held in 2016 in Islamabad.
Matters related to Pak-US bilateral trade, foreign direct investments in Pakistan, business operations of US companies working in the country and Pakistan’s exports to the United States were discussed during the meeting. Operational and regulatory issues also came under discussion.
“The momentum being generated with the resumption of these high level talks would lead to a breakthrough in realizing trade potential between the two countries,” said the Commerce Minister.
Noting bilateral trade volume of around $12 billion, Naveed Qamar said that the present trade figures do not reflect the true potential existing between the two countries, keeping in view the size of the US economy and a huge market in Pakistan with a sizeable and vibrant middle class and youth bulge. Pakistan, he said, looked forward to greater interaction especially in the areas of IT, tech, agriculture and other sectors.
US Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed said that there were significant opportunities available ‘in a massive and healthy market’ to enhance bilateral trade.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pakistan Elizabeth Horst in her remarks stated that United States wanted Pak-US relationship to further grow.
Discussing trade related operational issues, it was decided to appoint a focal person, on both sides, to prioritise, coordinate and ensure removal of impediments for smooth functioning of the businesses.
The minister also raised the issue of export of Pakistani mangoes to the United States with US Special Representative and called for early finalization of mechanism to facilitate greater exports of mangoes to the United States.
The two sides expressed the hope that TIFA meeting would serve as a catalyst in boosting trade ties and further strengthening Pak-US relations bearing hallmark of strong economic sinews and currency.