ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the first-ever Pakistan-US Economic Partnership Week to boost bilateral trade and investments.
The prime minister, in a ceremony before the launch of the week, said Pakistan offered huge opportunities of investment in different sectors, and it was committed to strengthening economic ties with the United States.
A two-day event on US-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, a working-level Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meeting between the two governments, and several other bilateral engagements would be held during the week.
Mr Sharif said Pakistan had achieved economic gains despite energy shortages and extremism. “The government attaches the highest priority to the energy sector. The United States is a valuable partner in Pakistan’s quest for energy security.”
The United States is the biggest export destination for Pakistani products, mostly textile and clothing.
Speaking on this occasion, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who has arrived here on her first official visit, said Washington was committed to work with Islamabad as a partner and as a friend in different sectors. “A stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan is in the best interest of the United States.”
Pakistan had been a strong ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism and had rendered matchless sacrifices in this regard, she said.
The US secretary held a series of bilateral meetings from prime minister to commerce and finance ministers on the first day of her visit.
Ms Pritzker met Mr Sharif at his office to discuss various issues for enhancing bilateral trade and investments. “Global investors need to know that Pakistan is opening up for business,” she said.
She, along with US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson, also met Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and discussed matters relating to issuance of visas, especially to US businessmen. She emphasised that facilitation in this regard would help promote business-to-business contacts.
In a response to Ms Pritzker’s query on ease of doing business, Mr Dar said a number of measures had already been taken and the Board of Investment was contributing effectively in this regard. He particularly mentioned simplification in procedures for tax payment, and added that more such measures would be taken in the future.
On Pakistan-Afghan economic cooperation, Mr Dar referred to his telephone talk on Sunday with the Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal, saying Zakhilwal appreciated measures taken by Pakistan to promote bilateral economic ties.
Pakistan had undertaken important projects in Afghanistan which would be completed on priority, Mr Dar said.
Published in Dawn March 10th , 2015