Trump’s decision to enhance trade relations with Pakistan lauded

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  • ‘US can capitalise on Pakistan’s vast pool of skilled human resource, a large agrarian base, tremendous tourism potential, diverse mineral wealth, and a developed IT infrastructure’

ISLAMABAD: Hailing the decision of United States President Donald Trump towards enhancement of trade volume with Pakistan, the business community has said that Pakistan is an ideal and attractive investment destination that offers a rich array of resources.

Pak US Business Council Chairman and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik welcomed the joint statements of US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that the private sectors of both countries could increase the bilateral trade volume by playing a constructive role.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, he said overseas businessmen and investors should take advantage of the economic and business opportunities provided by Pakistan’s strategic location.

Both Pakistan and US governments have clear economic agendas; therefore, there should be meaningful result-oriented dialogues on trade and investment between the two countries, he maintained.

“The United States is the largest trade partner of Pakistan and over one million Pakistani expatriates are housed there,” he noted. “Both countries have the potential to enhance bilateral cooperation in energy, agriculture and education sectors.”

Malik urged both the governments to facilitate their entrepreneurs so as to encourage trade and business collaborations.

“US could capitalise on Pakistan’s vast pool of skilled human resource, a large agrarian base, tremendous tourism potential, diverse mineral wealth, and a developed IT infrastructure,” he added.

The business leader said both countries should focus on developing sector-specific cooperation, as it would help in increasing two-way trade.

He also highlighted various impediments being faced by the Pakistani business community in doing trade with the US. He urged the US to remove all trade barriers, including strict visa conditions, for the promotion of bilateral trade.

“Many Chinese investors are taking a keen interest in Pakistan and the US should also encourage its investors to explore the Pakistani market. The visit of US investors to Pakistan will also send a positive signal to other foreign investors.”

Malik requested the Trump government to consider allowing duty-free access to Pakistani merchandise in lieu of Pakistan’s sacrifices in the US war against terrorism.

“Direct market access to the US will bring economic stability in Pakistan, which is imperative to crush terrorism in the region.”

He said aid or grant is undoubtedly a remedy but it has never been a substitute to trade, adding that greater market access will not only help rehabilitate and reconstruct the totally damaged industrial infrastructure but will also generate jobs for millions of people.

He said that the war against terrorism that had engaged Pakistan for more than a decade proved to be the biggest hurdle in the way of Pakistan’s progress.

“As per some careful estimates, our involvement in the effort to curb terrorism across the borders has caused a colossal loss of almost $120 billion to Pakistan’s economy,” he noted.

He said that a new history is in the making as the country has left the difficult times behind, adding that the overall security situation today is far better and Pakistan is emerging as a hub of economic activities.

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