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ISLAMABAD: The United States Chargé d’affaires, Angela Aggeler, Wednesday said that Pakistan needs to do more to protect intellectual property rights, enforce contracts and regulations by eliminating discriminatory taxation.

She was speaking at International Virtual Conference, “Pakistan-US ties: The way forward”, organised by Area Study Centre for Africa, North and South America, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, in collaboration with Attorney Dawood Ghazanavi, founder of “Dawood Law Associates”.

The speakers of the conference were US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Vice chancellor QAU Islamabad Prof Dr Mohammad Ali, US Chargé d’affaires Angela Aggeler, former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Deputy Director and Senior Assistant for South Asia, Wilson Centre, Washington Michael Kugelman, journalist Zahid Hussain, Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad Ambassador (retd) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Senior Director, South Asia Centre, Atlantic Council, Washington, Irfan Nooruddin, Director General Americas, Foreign Office, Mudassar Tipu, President, Institute of Regional Studies Islamabad Ambassador (retd) Nadeem Riyaz, Analyst, Speaker US-Pakistan Relations Attorney Dawood Ghazanavi, and Dr Sadia Sulaiman, Assistant Prof ASC, QAU, Islamabad.

Angela Aggeler said that this is an important moment for the US and Pakistan relations, adding that by any measures the ties between US and Pakistan are robust.

She stated that the US believes in bilateral relationship with Pakistan, adding that a secure Pakistan is in best interest of the US too.

She said that the US has always viewed strong and prosper Pakistan, adding that both Pakistan and the US have collectively addressed a number of challenges together in the past.

She said that both sides are working together on regional peace and security, climate change, Covid-19 pandemic, as well as, improving education and boosting bilateral trade. She also mentioned that the two sides also share enduring military-to-military relations and naval exercises, adding that the two sides remained focus on counterterrorism initiatives.

“Pakistan must need to do more to protect intellectual property rights enforce contracts and predictable policy and regulations and eliminate discriminatory taxation,” Aggeler stated, according to a press release of the virtual conference.

The US diplomat said that Pakistan has much to offer to the US investors, adding that Pakistan has been the leading market for US cattle and dairy products exports. She added that the US also wants to focus on geo-economics.

On Afghanistan, she said that both the sides are working for Afghan people and providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. She also appreciated Pakistan’s increased humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. She also recognized Pakistan contribution to UN peace keepings.

About cooperation in dealing with COVID-19, she said that the US has donated 50 million doses of Covid-19 vaccination to help Pakistan vaccinate the people against the virus.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said that United States’ efforts have always been focused on people-to-people contact with Pakistan. She also thanked Pakistan for saving lives of people after Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and providing humanitarian aid to people, besides helping American “veterans” in Afghanistan who used Pakistan soil to go back to the US. She said that Pakistan and the US must establish new relationship, adding that we must work together for peace in the region and the human rights issues.

“We can work together; there is no need of pointing fingers at each other. Come together and find a common ground,” she emphasized, adding that she looks forward and wish a meeting between the US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Imran Khan. She stated that there also a need to encourage dialogue between Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Congressman Al Green, in his remarks stated that US is Pakistan’s largest export partner and has been one of the top investor in Pakistan. He added that in 2019, US employed 7,000 Pakistan engineers, over 12,000 physicians and maintained student exchange programmes at times. As of 2020, he added that 8,000 Pakistani students are active in the student exchange programme. He underscored the need for further strengthening US-Pakistan relations.

Atif Khan, focal person for overseas Pakistan, PM office, threw light on the role of Pakistani Diaspora in promoting the relationship between the two countries and the trade potential and corporate engagement between Pakistan and US and how it can be improved manifold in the coming years.

“Now is the time for political leadership both in Islamabad and Washington to reset and reconstruct this relationship on bilateral basis,” he said. He said that US is among the few countries that Pakistan enjoys a trade surplus with, adding that Pakistan’s textiles exports are poised to cross $20 billion mark for the first time.

He said that Pakistan can hugely benefit from the US massive production of natural gas. He said that Pakistan current export of gems stones is at US$ 6 million while the potential is US$ 5 billion.

Mudassar Tipu stated that in past two months, there has been an important improvement in Pakistan-US relations, adding that many Congress delegations visited Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has a dynamic market, and the IT and pharmaceutical sectors have huge potential. He said that trade and investment meeting with US will be held soon and some joint agreement to be signed soon with the US. He said that E-commerce network has been created and Amazon is coming forward in Pakistan.

Dawood Ghazanavi said that since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is a vacuum which can be filled up by many initiatives. He said that Pakistan national security policy is a historical step towards understanding Pakistan vision in dealing with regional powers and especially the US. He said that Pakistan policy focus on geo-economics is the need of the time, adding that Pakistan and the US should look for avenues to boost trade. He said that the US firms should be encouraged to consider investments in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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mkhan Mar 06, 2022 06:46am
Why don't Pakistan Govt - Sit down with US Govt, bring a 10 Point agenda - Pakistan needs to do, 1,2,3 etc, in order to get US Investors, doing business in Pakistan or with Pakistan - We been hearing this BS for 20 years now, can we get down to the nitty gritty and make things happen, and make things attractive for US investors that feel encouraged, vice versa, what are the exact details, in lehmens words, that are hindering , we need to make this simpler and easier, and lot more attractive" and finally we need to see action, not bs talk, fool me once, shame on you fool me twice, and thrice and the list goes on, needs to stop"
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