KARACHI: US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G Olson on Wednesday said both the countries are moving from an assistance-based relationship to one based more on trade and investment and the United States commitment to supporting long-term self-sufficiency for Pakistan, a statement issued by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) said.
Addressing members of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Olson said the US is partnering with Pakistan to achieve growth and build a foundation for commercial success by building business ties and industry capacity, supporting Pakistan’s young entrepreneurs and addressing some of the challenges that have slowed the pace of economic growth in Pakistan.
He was impressed by the achievement of the OICCI members, who account for more than 14 percent of GDP and 33 percent of Pakistan’s total tax receipts, besides touching the lives of a large segment of the population. The ambassador highlighted how both the countries are partnering to create a “pro-business, pro-investment, and pro-innovation climate”. He said: “We are proud that the United States is both Pakistan’s largest trading partner and one of its largest investors. In 2013, two-way trade is more than $5 billion and the US companies have invested $1.3 billion in the Pakistani economy in the last seven years.”
The ambassador also spoke about the October meeting of the Economic and Finance Working Group, an element of the Strategic Dialogue, led by Under Secretary for Economics, Energy, and Business Catherine Novelli and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The working group focused on the concrete steps both the countries are taking to improve trade and investment ties, such as the joint announcement of a US-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week in early 2015.
Ambassador Olson concluded his remarks by highlighting the important role that the business and industry leaders can play in economic growth by saying, “…for the US-Pakistan relationship to continue to grow, it is going to have to be less about what our two governments do than about what our peoples and businesses can accomplish together. The US ambassador was accompanied by Brian Heath, US Consul General in Karachi and other senior members of the US Embassy.
Earlier, OICCI Vice President Atif A Bajwa shared the significant contribution of the OICCI members to the Pakistan economy, not only in the form of FDI, but also in the transfer of technology and best practices. Being the collective voice of leading 200 foreign investors, the OICCI has played a key role in facilitating FDI in the country by sharing the investment climate and incentives and opportunities for potential investors in Pakistan. Bajwa expressed concerns on the declining positioning of Pakistan in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, which needs serious remedial action to allow Pakistan to achieve its right growth potential.
He appreciated the positive support of the US government for Pakistan over the last six decades, the contribution of the US corporate entities to the economy of Pakistan and the potential for further enhancement of US-Pakistan trade and business relationship. He urged the need to fast track the US-Pakistan dialogue to promote investment in Pakistan, including meaningful progress on Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
Source: The NEWS