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Sherry urges US business leaders to invest in Pakistan

February 18, 2012

Sherry Rehman. — AP File Photo

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has urged American investors to benefit from vast business opportunities Pakistan offers in several potential areas, particularly the energy sector.

Speaking to members of US-Pakistan Business Council, she highlighted the fact that a number of American companies are already successfully doing business in the country and contributing to better economic relations.

“The Council can greatly help in dispelling adverse perceptions in the US by relating to their business success stories in Pakistan to their fellow investors, political leaders and opinion makers,” she said at the US Chamber of Commerce.

Islamabad, she said, is committed in providing suitable environment and level-playing fields to international investors and has been rated atop in South Asia as far ease in doing business is concerned.

The ambassador said one of the key priorities during her assignment in Washington would remain promoting stronger linkages between the private sectors of the two countries.

“The government gives priority to investments in social sectors, programmes that promote justice, development and strengthening of infrastructure, industrialization, economic reforms and trade facilitation,” said the ambassador.

Despite the continuing global financial crisis and regional situation, Pakistan last year achieved a 28 per cent increase in exports, which were worth $ 25 billion.

“The positive trends have continued in the last seven months, and other macro economic indicators are showing hopeful signs,” she added.

Drawing attention to the advantages Pakistan's strategic location holds out, she said, the country is situated on the crossroads of South and Central Asia and the Middle Eastern regions, making it one for the most attractive destination for foreign investors.

“The location provides a unique trade and energy corridor to some of the most economically vibrant and resource rich countries in the world,” she added.

Ambassador Rehman also reiterated Pakistan's interest towards concluding a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States.

“A free trade agreement with the US is an important priority for Pakistan. I am sure many people present here are fervent advocates of free trade and realize the benefits to be achieved from such agreement between the two countries.”

Pakistan and the United States have had a robust trading relationship and the current volume of bilateral trade has doubled to $ 5.50 billion.

“While this may be a source of some satisfaction on both sides, we firmly believe that the potential for enhancing trade relations between the two countries is far greater than that was, has been achieved so far.”

Welcoming the Pakistani ambassador on behalf of members of the US-Pakistan Business Council, Chairman Miles Young said that despite international financial difficulties, the American companies have made substantial profits and continue to prosper.

The meeting was attended by leaders and CEOs of companies including Shell, Procter & Gamble, Northrop Grumman, Harris Corporation, GE Transportation, Global Edison Corporation, MetLife, J.E. Austin Associates Inc., The Coca-Cola Company and Caterpillar Inc.