LAHORE: Donald Blome, US Ambassador to Pakistan, said on Friday the US government was keen to foster bilateral trade relations with Pakistan.
“The future of Pakistan and US relations would be based on more interaction in the areas of trade, investment, climate change, energy and education fields,” he said.
He was speaking to the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) members during his visit to the APTMA, Lahore office along with Chris Rettgers, FAS Counsellor and Kevin Ching, Economic Counsellor.
Dr Gohar Ejaz, Patron-in-Chief, Hamid Zaman, Chairman Northern Zone, Kamran Arshad Senior Vice Chairman, Asad Shafi, Vice Chairman along with Raza Baqir and Shahid Sattar and senior members of APTMA representing leading textile groups in the country welcomed the delegation.
Blome said that there is enormous potential to work together in the field of cotton and textile besides expending trade and investment relations in other focused areas.
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US Ambassador said Pakistan has strong potential to grow in textile and other sectors and its exporters could easily benefit from the liberal economic policies followed by the US. He proposed APTMA leadership to focus on continuing engagements and dialogue with their American counterparts to upsurge trade volume and to get maximum benefit of economic partnership between both the countries.
Donald Blome also highlighted the issues confronting the expansion of trade and investment relations and expressed the hope that the government would overcome them with consistent efforts. He also hoped that the US buying houses will open their offices in Pakistan with the passage of time. He added that it is a challenge for the Pakistani entrepreneurs as to how they attract the US investment in Pakistan. He added that Pakistan is most cost competitive in the region but needs to improve its in addition to addressing the issues related to taxation, repatriation of profits, unpredictability on policies, and legal system etc.
US Ambassador said that the US investors were active in the agriculture field in different parts of Pakistan. Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Dr Gohar Ejaz, Patron in Chief, APTMA stressed on helping Pakistan in the field of education and research to build capacity of young Pakistanis especially in export oriented areas.
He also urged upon the visiting envoy to help Pakistan in obtaining duty free access to the US market to make them competitive against other competitors. While suggesting the way forward, he stressed on duty-free access for Pakistani exports to the US to reduce poverty and unemployment and to extend GSP Plus like access to Pakistan as already extended by European Union. He pointed out that Pakistan has fully complied with 27 international conventions relating to human rights, child labour, gender rights, labour rights, environment, narcotics and corruption control etc. He also emphasized on early finalization of Pakistan – US FTA/PTA besides promotion of US cotton linkages with Pakistan’s textile industry.
Senior Vice Chairman APTMA, Kamran Arshad made a detailed presentation about the strength of the textile industry in Pakistan. He said the US is Pakistan’s largest trade partner with a total bilateral trade of US$9.85 billion in 2021-22. According to him, total exports of Pakistan to the US stood at $6.8 billion against total imports of $3.0 billion from the US. The USA is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Pakistan coupled with remittance of US$3.1 billion from USA to Pakistan, he added.
Chairman APTMA North Zone Hamid Zaman said both the countries have huge potential to work together. He appreciated the positive approach of the US ambassador and expressed the hope that he would play his role in building up bilateral trade and investment relations between the Pakistan .
Vice Chairman, Asad Shafi extended a vote of thanks to the visiting delegation at the end of the meeting and expressed the confidence that the visit of the delegation would help boosting mutual trade cooperation between both the countries.