Pakistan’s new bid to combat terror allows widening of trade ties: US Commerce Secy
Pakistan’s fresh efforts to fight terrorism and promote security is “affording” the US to expand trade between the two countries and in the region, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said after meeting the country’s top leadership here.
Ross was in Islamabad on Wednesday, a day after US President Donald Trump concluded his high-profile maiden visit to India, and called on Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Minister of Energy Omar Ayub Khan and others. Building on the productive discussions between President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, “I met with Prime Minister Khan and his economic team today in Islamabad to explore ways to grow the US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship, including in the energy and digital sectors,” Ross said in a statement.
“Deepening our economic ties will provide measurable benefits for our two nations,” Ross said while thanking the Pakistani leaders’ willingness to engage in frank conversations. The US Commerce Secretary recalled President Trump’s statement in New Delhi when he said, “Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one.” Ross noted that the US was Pakistan’s largest export destination and American companies have a long history of doing business in Pakistan, contributing to its economic development and providing high-value jobs. “The work Pakistan has begun to do to fight terrorism and promote security is affording the US and Pakistan the opportunity to strengthen and expand trade in the region and between our countries,” Ross said.
In a stern message to Pakistan, India and the US on Tuesday asked Islamabad to ensure that no territory under its control is used to launch terror attacks and strongly condemned cross-border terrorism in all its forms.
A joint statement said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
The two leaders also called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, D-Company, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
At a press conference, the US president also said that ways to deal with terrorism figured prominently in his talks with Prime Minister Modi who, Trump stressed, is determined to check the menace.
In his statement, Ross said the Department of Commerce will continue to facilitate private sector engagement between the US and Pakistan through organising Pakistani business delegations to America and regional trade shows. It will also support technical exchanges on trade facilitation, energy, intellectual property rights, and good regulatory practices.
“Our conversations provided opportunities to reinforce the critical importance of improving Pakistan’s business environment, including through developing a consistent tax framework, promoting regulatory transparency, and strengthening the intellectual property ecosystem,” he said. This includes ensuring the free flow of data, which is crucial to businesses in all sectors of the economy and essential to helping Pakistan integrate into the global digital ecosystem, Ross said.
According to the American embassy in Islamabad, the US exported USD 2.6 billion worth of goods to Pakistan in 2019. American companies made more than USD 1.4 billion in direct investments in Pakistan since 2016, the embassy tweeted.