KARACHI: Pakistan and the United States need to focus on improving bilateral relation particularly in areas of economy and trade as there exists a lot of scope and opportunities in both countries.

This was stated by the head of political and economic affairs of the US consulate, John Robinson, in a meeting with members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday.

He was emphatic that both the countries needed to ‘significantly’ improve bilateral relations in certain areas. The acting president FPCCI Irfan Ahmed Sarwana, speaking on the occasion, urged upon the six-member US team from the Karachi consulate to provide assistance in including textile and leather products in the US’s GSP scheme.

He further said that though the US has given GSP access to Pakistan allowing duty free and duty concession access to many products, the scheme does not include Pakistan’s core products – textile and leather goods.

Mr Sarwana also sought support from the US delegation in extending the validity of the scheme from December 2017 to December 2020. He said since Pakistani textile and leather goods enter US market after paying between 7-32 per cent customs duty it makes them uncompetitive against imports of other countries.

The FPCCI president expressed concern over the decline in American investment to $71 million in 2016, as against $1.3 billion in 2007.

He stressed that Pakistan offers huge opportunities of investment in energy, infrastructure, metal, mineral, agriculture, power, transportation, automobiles, and telecommunications.

Mr Sarwana reiterated that Pakistan is a front-line ally in the war against terrorism and has suffered losses to the tune of $123.13bn till March 2016.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017

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