Pakistan demands US new leadership direct market access at zero duty

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LAHORE Jan 27 (DNA) : Pakistan Wednesday demanded new US leadership direct market access at zero duty and Joint Ventures (JVs) in economic sphere in the wake of war against terrorism.

Founder Chairman Pak US Business Council and veteran trade leader Iftikhar Ali Malik  said US should convene  meeting of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to move forward for result oriented progress .There is already a GSP plus status for Pakistan in the US but new steps could be taken for getting maximum benefits of trade preferential facility, he further added.

 He said that what is Pakistan needs is to opt the model of joint ventures on the pattern of Egypt and some African countries to enhance trade ties with biggest economies like the US.

Iftikhar said the last meeting of TIFA was held in May last in which both sides had discussed ways to improve access to products such as agricultural goods and medicines in either markets.

He said Pakistan had been keen to explore potential trade concessions as it could import more US cotton in return for preferential US market access for its apparel export. A preferential Trade Agreement (FTA) could be a long goal because of complexity involved in the process, he further said and added that the TIFA framework provided an institutional mechanism to carry forward those discussions and come up with new ideas.

He said the US should remove the bottlenecks in bilateral investment treaty and efforts should now be made to better FTA and it is now imperative that the US should offer same package and incentives which it offers to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in textile exports, such as duty concessions and market access.

“There must be an incentive package for Pakistan for being a front-line state in combating terrorism with the US. He said that Pakistan is time tested friend and suffered colossal irreparable  economic losses running in billions of dollars in war on terrorism in the region.

He further said visa restrictions should be eased for the Pakistani businessmen and exporters and joint efforts are needed to further cement the existing economic ties between Pakistan and US private sector. He said Pakistan and US are enjoying amicable relationship and coalition partners against war on terror.

Iftikhar Ali Malik who is also president SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman United Business Group (UBG) said Pakistan was emerging as a fast developing and modern republic in South Asia. He urged Pakistani-American businessmen to avail immense business potential in Pakistan as well.

He said it’s now world record that Pakistan has been hosting 2.7 million Afghan refugees for forty years.