- Visit of US officials to Pakistan and meeting with authorities may help ease/repair relations with IMF
ISLAMABAD: The United States of America (USA) is said to have increased engagement with Sharif Administration as a number of high-level meetings are in the pipeline, well informed sources told Business Recorder.
Since Pakistan is facing financial woes due to the continuing impasse in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), senior officials from the US Department of Treasury would visit Pakistan from January 23-25, 2023 to discuss different aspects of financial assistance and other issues.
Insiders claimed that visit of the US officials to Pakistan and meeting with the authorities may help ease/repair relations with the IMF as assistance from other financial institutions like World Bank, Asian Development Bank is also linked to the successful completion of the ninth IMF review.
According to sources, the US State Department has noted that the 9th Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) Council meeting is scheduled to be held on February 23, 2023 in Washington D.C.
The US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai and Minister for Commerce, Syed Naveed Qamar would lead their respective delegations.
According to sources in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this is an important development as the last (8th) TIFA Council was held 7 years ago in October 2016.
For a meaningful and positive outcome to emerge from the ministerial meeting, Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended that the Commerce Ministry may hold inter-ministerial meetings ahead of the 9th TIFA enabling Pakistan to evolve a comprehensive and unified policy position to be negotiated with American interlocutors.
The sources maintained it is also important that in terms of investment, Pakistan’s bankable and coherent projects may be discussed with the Americans.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintained that while it does not directly deal with commerce matters however taking an overarching view of the 9th TIFA, it is underscored that the US has repeatedly raised its concerns regarding the outstanding issues of: (i) resolution of 5 wind-power projects financed by DFC (Energy Division); (ii) clearance of Soybean containers; and (iii) data protection and privacy laws (MoITT).
The US side has maintained that the resolution of these issues is crucial to have a meaningful outcome of 9th TIFA firmly adding that if these issues remain unaddressed, private sector will find it hard to explore Pakistan’s market.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Islamabad has proposed the dates for the energy security dialogue on March 1, 2023 in Islamabad. The US Department of State’s Energy Resources Department Assistant Secretary will most likely lead this delegation and other agencies like Department of Energy may join in.
The US embassy has sought confirmation if the proposed date is amenable to Ministry of Energy to host the delegation for further transmission to the US embassy.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari recently visited Washington and held detailed meeting with the US Administration to improve bilateral relations between the two countries.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023