As invited by Alamgir Firoz, Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Diplomatic Affairs, a six-member delegation of USA Embassy in Pakistan led by John Robinson, Head of Political/Economic Affairs, visited Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and held a meeting with its member’s under the Chairmanship of Irfan Ahmed Sarwana, Acting President FPCCI.
Irfan Ahmed Sarwana, Acting President FPCCI, in his welcome address underscored the need for further intensifying interaction between the trade mission of USA and business community of Pakistan for the promotion of bilateral trade and economic relations between the two nations. He recalled that although USA has given GSP access to Pakistan allowing duty free and duty concession access for many products however, the scheme does not include our core textile and our leather products exports. As such at present Pakistan is paying in between 7 percent to 32 percent duty on certain textile products in USA, which is very high.
He urged the US delegates to extend their support and cooperation in including textile and leather products in the US GSP Scheme and further extend the validity of the scheme from December 2017 to December 2020.
Irfan Ahmed Sarwana reiterated that Pakistan is a front line ally in the war against terrorism and has suffered losses of US$ 123.13 billion till March 2016. These losses are in term of declining of exports, compensation paid to affectees and internally displaced persons; destruction of physical infrastructure; decline in foreign investment; inordinate delay in privatization of state own enterprises (SOEs); fall in tax collection; decline in industrial output etc., besides, loss of precious lives of innocent civilian and military personnel. He therefore, proposed that In view of the losses, Pakistan deserves better access of USA trade instead of aid, because trade is an engine of economic growth and helps in alleviating poverty, which may further lead to economic development and prosperity. Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of US aid for security, economic and military related programmes. He informed that the Pakistani working in USA are contributing in the development of USA and send remittance of dollar 2.5 billion annually to Pakistan. Moreover, a large number of Pakistani students are also studying in USA with the financial assistance of USA government.
Irfan Ahmed Sarwana also showed concern on decline in USA investment to dollar 71 million in 2016 as against US$ 1.3 billion in 2007. Pakistan still offers huge opportunities of investment in energy, infrastructure, metal, mineral, Agriculture, power, transportation, automobiles, telecommunications, and value added textiles and leather, banking and finance, engineering etc.
John Robinson, Head of Political/Economic Affairs, U.S. Consulate said that the United States and Pakistan need to focus on “significantly” improving bilateral relations, particularly in areas of economy and trade, as there exists a lot of scope for enhancing trade and commerce between both the countries.