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ISLAMABAD: The United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, on Wednesday emphasised the need for exploiting the untapped potential in Pakistan-US relations, particularly in the areas of trade and economy with a focus on bringing more investment opportunities to Pakistan.

The US envoy was talking to media persons after addressing the opening ceremony of the 16th American Studies Conference, jointly organised by the US Embassy and Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) under the theme of “Seventy-Five Years of US-Pakistan Relations: Lessons for the Future.”

Ambassador Blome pointed out that in both countries, there is a lot of untapped potential in terms of economy and trade. He said that focused efforts are needed to bring more investment opportunities to Pakistan for the benefit of both the countries and the people.

He said that the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has a vast potential, adding that there is a need to look into those areas that have the greatest potential for improvement.

He pointed out that the countries have strong cooperation in areas of health, trade, and economy that could further be enhanced. He said that the education sector is central to the relationship between the two countries, adding that there are many programs for Pakistani students, which the United States government is supporting.

“We need to find more ways for more Pakistani students to participate in US scholarships. In the same way, American students have to find a way to study in Pakistan,” said the US ambassador.

He said that the US Embassy and the US-Pakistan Women’s Council (USPWC) in partnership with Texas A&M University, S&P Global, and the US Chamber of Commerce’s US-Pakistan Business Council, on Tuesday launched the Pakistan Future of Women and Work Initiative. He said that this is another area to bring out the talent within women, adding that women are Pakistan’s biggest untapped resource.

He said that women are severely underrepresented in Pakistan’s labour force, adding that it is a big tragedy for Pakistan. He said that women play key a role in any country’s development.

Referring to the humanitarian assistance for Pakistan’s flood-affected people, he said that the US is giving an initial $50 million to agencies on the ground to help the flood victims while more ways are also being considered to increase the assistance. The US has pledged a total of $53.1 million in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan’s flood victims.

“This is a critical moment because many people are without a roof…We want to build an infrastructure that can withstand the climate change,” he said. He further stated that it is an extraordinary human disaster caused by floods in Pakistan.

“I have heard from many Pakistanis that they wish to go beyond the political framework to help the flood victims,” he said in response to a question.

Earlier, in his address to the conference, the ambassador said that the two countries are celebrating 75 years their diplomatic relations, adding that the strong bilateral relations and partnership between the two countries is a reflection of common approach to regional and international issues. He said that the economic relations between the two countries have improved over time.

He said that the situation in Afghanistan provided an opportunity for common goals. For centuries, development assistance, construction of schools, hospitals and cooperation in the protection of historical heritage continued, he added.

He pointed out that there is an active network of thousands of Pakistani students who have graduated from US exchange programs.

He pointed out that the US has provided millions of dollars worth of vaccines to Pakistan so that it can successfully fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last 75 years, he pointed out that 45,000 Pakistanis received education and training in the US educational institutes.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Masood Khan, in his address to the conference via a video link, said that Pakistan-US relations are important in terms of regional security.

He insisted that all bilateral issues need to be resolved through dialogue. He said that cooperation in all areas including trade, climate change, and energy is essential for the improvement of bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US.

He also emphasized the need for increasing the Fulbright scholarship for Pakistani students, adding that the current number is very less compared to the other countries of the world.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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