LAHORE: Pakistan-US Business Council Founder-Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik has emphasised that Islamabad needs immediate direct access to US markets and not aid as it has suffered colossal financial losses while playing its role in the war on terror.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Malik said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo must play his role in defusing the strain in Pakistan-US relations, adding cordial relations between the two partners were important for restoring peace and ensuring prosperity in the region.
He pointed out that the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan had been blocked and payment of $800 million was pending with the US.
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“The relationship between the US and Pakistan could worsen if the Trump administration follows the decision to cut off aid to Pakistan,” he added. Malik said he was hopeful that Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan would help ease tension and foster trade between the US and Pakistan.
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He stressed that joint efforts were needed to further cement existing economic ties between private sectors of the two sides and for that purpose the American government should provide Pakistan’s products direct access to its markets at zero duty. He was of the view that the US should remove bottlenecks in the way of bilateral investment treaty and efforts should be made to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) at the earliest. “It is imperative that the US offers the same package and incentives which it has offered to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for textile exports,” the statement added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2018.
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