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WASHINGTON: The US State Depart­ment has said in a report that America’s economic partnership with Pakistan directly benefits the United States by creating well-paying jobs at home.

The report noted on Thursday that Pakistan was a growing country of over 190 million and a partnership with it promoted US businesses and exports, and advanced scientific progress in critical areas.

The document follows reports in the US media that the partnership only benefits Pakistan, which gladly accepts US economic and military assistance but pays little attention to Washington’s strategic interests in that region.

Media reports accused Pakistan of continuing to support religious extremists targeting US forces and their Afghan allies in Afghanistan.

The State Department report says Pak-US partnership promotes American businesses and exports

The State Department report does not address these allegations but dispels the impression that this is a one-sided relationship which only benefits Pakistan.

The report includes data from the Department of Commerce to support its claim.

Creating US jobs

The data shows that the United States exported $1.8 billion in goods to Pakistan in 2015, creating or supporting over 9,200 US jobs. As one example, General Electric won a contract this year to provide 55 locomotives to Pakistan Railways, all of which will be manufactured at Erie in Pennsylvania.

The data reveals that foreign direct investment from Pakistan to the United States in 2015 supported up to 1,000 additional US jobs.

Promoting US businesses

The US and Pakistan launched the US-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership in 2015, which supports private investment in financially sound and clean energy projects in Pakistan. The partnership aims to add at least 3,000 megawatts of clean power in Pakistan by 2020, creating opportunities for US businesses.

This year, the Department of Agriculture hosted a Pakistani group of Cochran and Borlaug Fellows to study the benefits of using US wood products.

The department connects US and Pakistani scientists to jointly develop varieties of seeds that will resist diseases that threaten both US and Pakistani cotton and wheat production.

Science & technology achievements

Since 2005, grants provided by both countries under the US-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement have funded 96 research projects in several areas.

Researchers from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, and the University of California at Davis are developing a low-cost, blood-based Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostic test — more sensitive than the current World Health Organisation-recommended sputum test — that is undergoing trial at Chennai, India, to prepare for approval and commercial launch of the test in India.

This test could enable patients testing positive for TB to undergo effective treatment sooner for a highly damaging disease affecting populations across multiple TB-endemic countries.

Researchers at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) in Lahore are collaborating to develop air quality monitoring that can be applied to mobile and wireless devices. This new area of research aims to improve air quality in polluted urban areas in both countries, and possibly soil and water quality in future applications.

A total of 23 US universities from 16 states and the District of Columbia have received grants to work with counterpart Pakistani universities in fields ranging from business development to gender studies.

Published in Dawn November 19th, 2016