Obama keen to provide market access to Pakistan exports
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
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