United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Wednesday said Washington was willing to enhance investment in the country and that the US supported trade and development in the country.
Ross’ comments came during a meeting with Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood as the two met in Islamabad to discuss trade ties between US and Pakistan.
“We fully support trade and development in the country. Pakistan needs to enhance bilateral ties with US,” Ross said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed bilateral trade relations with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, sources informed Geo News, during a meeting also attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
The PM’s adviser on finance and revenue, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also met Ross to discuss economic and financial relations between the two countries.
“The US wants to strengthen its relations with Pakistan,” said Ross in his meeting with Shaikh. The adviser responded by saying: “We thank America for supporting our country in different sectors.
“Conducive environment for investment in the country is a good opportunity for US companies,” Shaikh added.
Razzak, on the other hand, said they will provide all the facilities to the exporters. “We are taking steps to make this a favourable trade environment. There are many business opportunities for US businessmen in the country.”
He added that textile and other products should also be granted preferential trade agreement. “US companies can set up factories in Pakistan to export their product in other markets. These companies can experience the benefit in Pakistan.”
Separately while speaking to Geo News, Razak said the talks have yielded a new era of economic relations between the two countries. “The US secretary has asked us to take measures to increase bilateral trade.”
“We will hold a Pak-US ‘Business Opportunity Conference’,” he shared.
The commerce adviser further said the US had directed Pakistan to convene a meeting of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council as soon as possible. “A meeting of TIFA Council will be held in Washington soon,” he added.
Earlier, Ross also met with US companies doing in business in Pakistan. According to a tweet posted by the US embassy in Islamabad, US exported $2.6 billion worth of goods to Pakistan in 2019.
“US companies made more than $1.4 billion in direct investments in Pakistan since 2016,” it added.
Before arriving in Pakistan, Ross tweeted that he was looking forward to his meeting with PM Imran in Islamabad where he will discuss ways in which the two countries can boost trade and investment between the two countries.
“As President Trump said this week, ‘Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one.’ I look forward to meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad,” tweeted Ross.
The US secretary was part of President Donald Trump’s delegation to India and would make a brief stopover in Pakistan.
The visit comes after Donald Trump failed to strike any major trade deal with India at the end of a visit big on photo opportunities but short on substance.
Speaking after talks in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US president said only that they had made “tremendous progress” towards a comprehensive agreement and that he was “optimistic we can reach a deal”.
While minor compared to his trade war with China, Trump has slapped tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium and suspended duty-free access for certain goods to cut the $25-billion US trade deficit with Asia´s third-biggest economy.
Under pressure to deliver ahead of elections in November, he has pressed for greater access to the vast Indian market of 1.3 billion people for US dairy producers, makers of medical goods and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. But Modi, who has a lot in common with Trump with his “Make in India” mantra echoing Trump’s “America First” slogan, has responded with higher tariffs on US goods including $600 million worth of Californian almonds.
Modi, speaking alongside Trump a day after they appeared together at a raucous rally in front of 100,000 people, said only that both sides “have agreed to start negotiating for a big trade deal”.