- Ned Price says Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council ministerial meeting 'exemplifies our commitment to deepening our economic and commercial ties with Pakistan'
The United States has said that it believes a robust trade relationship between Washington and Pakistan “is more important than ever” to bolster Islamabad’s economic stability as it recovers from devastating floods.
During a regular press briefing, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Council ministerial meeting “exemplifies our commitment to deepening our economic and commercial ties with Pakistan”.
He was referring to the 9th Pakistan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting currently underway in Washington DC. The meeting is being held after seven years as Pakistan looks for breakthroughs in agriculture and information technology.
Price added that “US trade relationship with Pakistan has helped both Pakistani industries and consumers.
We have long been Pakistan’s largest export market, with potential for even further growth.“
The US, Price said, has been a leading investor in Pakistan for the past two decades, and in the past year the country’s investments have increased by some 50%.
His comments come as Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar met on Thursday with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other senior US officials as part of TIFA.
“It is important that we start talking,” Qamar told Reuters.
“These were supposed to be annual meetings, but for one reason or another, they have been on the backburner for so long. Now that we are starting, there are many areas where we expect some breakthroughs, and that is on both sides.”
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has responded to US concerns over Chinese debt and emphasised that being a sovereign state, Pakistan exercises the right to choose its economic partners from around the globe on a mutually-beneficial basis.