WASHINGTON-Pakistan and the United States had comprehensive talks on a range of key issues, including enhancing the export of Pakistani mangoes and dates to the US and more market access for Pakistani textiles, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar has said.
Other matters discussed included boosting US investments in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, especially in the development of hybrid, climate-resilient seeds as well as supporting Pakistani IT and tech industry, he told reporters Saturday at the end of his three-day visit to Washington during which he also co-chaired the meeting of Pakistan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Ministerial Council. The minister said that significant progress has been made in some of the critical areas while further headway was expected during the course of the discussion that would follow. He said the TIFA meeting, held after a gap of eight years, reflected an understanding and commitment of the two countries to pursue a broad-based agenda and make mutually beneficial trade and investment ties an important pillar of the relationship.
Naveed Qamar said that the two sides have agreed to have regular follow-up engagements during the current year to ensure progress on all issues to achieve tangible results. It was also agreed to convene the next TIFA Council Ministerial meeting in Islamabad in early 2024. Expressing satisfaction over the ongoing and forthcoming high-level dialogues in various sectors including energy, climate change etc, the minister said that Pakistan was now being seen as United States’ sovereign trading partner. “The United States is an important country for us and we want our relations to further grow in all possible areas,” he said. Talking about the economic challenges being faced by the country, the minister said that the tough decisions taken by Pakistan to revive the IMF programme, have started showing results.
“In anticipation of revival of the programme, the reserves had started increasing and the rupee-dollar parity was witnessing stability,” he said, adding that the turn-around period has started. The minister expressed the hope that with the formal approval of revival of the programme by the IMF Board, the reserves would increase with inflows from friendly countries and international banks. He, however, stated that the revival of the programme alone was not a panacea for all ills. “We need structural reforms. Our processes need to be changed,” he said. Responding to a question, the minister said that the revival of the dialogue would significantly boost the confidence of the business community and would help in providing them with a conducive environment marked by economic stability.