‘Pakistan must seek direct access to US markets’

PUBC chairman says US should offer a similar incentive package to Pakistan which it offered to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

ISLAMABAD: The Pak-US Business Council has hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ongoing visit to the United States (US) would bring both the countries closer

“Pakistan should seek direct market access to the US markets in order to help stabilise its economy in the wake of war on terror in the region,” said PUBC Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik in a press statement issued on Tuesday.

He was of the view that Pakistan has suffered irreparable colossal financial losses by playing the frontline role in the war on terror, adding that US must support Pakistan to achieve economic prosperity and self-reliance.

He said joint efforts were needed to further cement the existing economic ties between Pakistan and US’ private sector.

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Malik further said that US President Donald Trump should announce incentive packages for the quick revival of the Pakistani economy during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The PUBC chairman, who is also the senior vice president of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that US was the largest trading partner of Pakistan with a trade volume $6.7 billion.

He said that Pakistan’s major exports to United States included sports goods, surgical goods, leather and finished leather products, textile, cotton yarn, garments, carpets, and rice.

Similarly, he added, Pakistan’s main imports from the United States included electrical machinery, equipment, medicines, dry fruits, perfumes, coffee, dates and other food items.

He stressed the need for negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty so that investment could be brought into Pakistan.

He suggested both the countries to expand cooperation on the 2013 Joint Action Plan on Trade and Investment, as the United States remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment.

He said the US should remove all bottlenecks in bilateral investment treaty and efforts should be made on signing a free trade agreement (FTA) at the earliest.

“It is now imperative that the US should offer same package and incentives (to Pakistan) which is offered to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in textile exports, such as duty concessions and market access,” he concluded.

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  1. This statement sounds good reflection on the past but Chairman Malik must realize that NOW we are living in a Global Economy where the Cost and Quality are the PARAMOUNT forces for the success of any economy (the best example is the USA vs China). Most of the products Mr. Malik has cited are from the way past (2013) and are not only dependent on the mercy of the mother nature (“weather” that no one has any control on) but are also of very low margins. As a matter of fact, due to lower wages in Bangladesh, combined with the lower costs of the raw materials and government subsidies, overall costs of the finished products (like textiles, fabrics, garments, leather goods, agriculture products, etc.) are far cheaper than similar products from Pakistan. Because of this main reason (and the political environment), the International brands have switched their manufacturing to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, etc. As the Chairman of the PUBC and Senior VP of SAARC, Mr. Malik and Pakistan, both need to change their business model to manufacturing and exports of the higher value-added products. If Pakistan, its Chambers of Commerce and the Business Council officials will continue to harp on the past and don’t accommodate the global realities of the present, Pakistan will not be able to come out of the “third world” syndrome!
    Pakistan has many advantages that other nations do not have! Like, english speaking skilled labor, high speed internet in major cities, young educated population, consumer oriented society, newly developed DEEP water Sea Port (Gwadar), trade free zones, and ease of doing business mandate by the government. Pakistan Embassies & its Consulates, Chambers of Commerce and other Private Agencies must publicize and capitalize on these advantages for attracting the FDI, not only from the USA but also from the EU and other countries. If this strategy will be played out, those days are not too far when Pakistan’s economy will be following the path of Singapore and South Korea in becoming a self sufficient nation in a very short period of time.
    Jamil Ghori
    MD, Pak-Sino Enterprise

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