Obama keen to pro­vide mar­ket ac­cess to Pak­istan ex­ports

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

KARACHI: US Am­bas­sador Cameron Munter said Mon­day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Obama is ac­tively work­ing with US Congress to pro­vide mar­ket ac­cess to help Pak­istani ex­port sec­tor.

He was de­liv­er­ing his first ma­jor speech on US-Pak eco­nomic re­la­tions at Karachi Stock Ex­change (KSE) here Mon­day as part of in­ter­ac­tion with lead­ing busi­ness cham­bers in Pak­istan. US Con­sul Gen­eral Wil­liam Martin was also present on the oc­ca­sion.

He said mar­ket ac­cess is much bet­ter than any as­sis­tance pro­gramme that US has for Pak­istan.

"US Em­bassy and US Con­sulates are com­mit­ted to work with US Congress to pro­vide mar­ket ac­cess ben­e­fits to help Pak­istani ex­porters," he said.

How­ever, he said that in the long term, Pak­istan must di­ver­sify its ex­ports.

"We wel­come your ideas on how US and Pak­istan might work to­gether to pro­mote in­dus­tries whether to mar­ket out­reach, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, reg­u­la­tory changes or other way you might sug­gest".

The US en­voy said that the Re­con­struc­tion Op­por­tu­nity Zones (ROZs) will pro­vide a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to pro­duce goods and ex­port them to the United States duty free. He said USA was com­mit­ted to these ROZs and the Congress will hope­fully pass this bill in the com­ing year. "We want you to help suc­ceed in in­creas­ing your sales and cre­ate jobs and ex­pand your reach to re­gional mar­kets as well as United States", he added.

The en­voy said that we want to keep hear­ing about your ideas for im­prov­ing busi­ness ties be­tween our two coun­tries.

Re­fer­ring to Pak-US trade, he said that dur­ing 2009, Pak­istan ex­ported goods worth $ 3.2 bil­lion to USA and si­mul­ta­ne­ously US's ex­ports stood at $ 1.6 bil­lion with Pak­istan hav­ing a trade sur­plus.

Munter said that trade vol­ume can grow and it must not be re­stricted to only few sec­tors as Pak­istan has much po­ten­tial in its value added sec­tors. He noted that Pak­istan must elim­i­nate govern­ment sub­si­dies in en­ergy sec­tor to stop rev­enue drain.

He said that USAID is fund­ing to the gen­er­a­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies.

"Our tech­ni­cal ex­perts are work­ing closely with Pak­istani of­fi­cials on prac­ti­cal steps to solve tech­ni­cal in­ef­fi­cien­cies, un­sus­tain­able tar­iff struc­ture and power theft which are drain­ing Pak­istan's bud­get". Munter said that US will con­tinue to con­vince the govern­ment to fos­ter a busi­ness friendly en­vi­ron­ment to wel­come pri­vate in­vest­ment in the power sec­tor and added that US also needs ideas from the pri­vate sec­tor in this re­gard. He pointed out that Over­seas Pri­vate In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (OPIC) and US Trade and Devel­op­ment Agency (USTDA) are ac­tive in pro­mot­ing Pak­istani busi­ness sup­ported by US in­vest­ment, par­tic­u­larly, in the en­ergy sec­tor. -PB News

RAWALPINDI: Liu Jain, Am­bas­sador of China called on Chief of Army Staff, Gen­eral Ash­faq Parvez Kayani at Gen­eral Head­quar­ters. -App

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