Businessmen urge Hillary to fulfill promises

LAHORE: The business community in Pakistan called upon the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give practical shape to her announcements made during her three-day visit to Pakistan for providing direct access to Pakistani products in US markets.

Founder Chairman Pak-US Business Council and VP Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik talking to APP here said that Hillary Clinton during her visit to Lahore and Islamabad made announcements to help stabilise Pakistan’s economy by providing special concessions, direct market access including long term investments in Pakistan in different sectors and other incentives.

‘Pakistan is an emerging market rich with opportunities for American investment, while the US is already an important trading partner’ he said. He said that US Chamber of Commerce and US-Pak Business Council can also play vital role by holding direct one-on-one interaction with traders, importers and exporters of both countries for sustainable economic growth coupled with promotion of trade on fast track.

He said there is vast scope for US private sector investors in every sector, particularly in the agriculture, power and IT sectors, adding that the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) can play a pivotal role in promoting bilateral trade relations.

He said that if the US is sincere with Pakistan in its fight against terror, then it must lift all economic restrictions and allow free flow of trade at zero duty by fully facilitating the private sector. He said that since her departure, not even a single action had so far been taken or reported from the US about practical measures in this regard.

‘In prevailing scenario worldwide especially in this region with reference to the war against terror, we needed much more support and package of incentives from United States to boost our economy as Pakistan has suffered overall loss of $1.6 trillion including $65 billion to its economic sector in the aftermath of 9/11 debacle and turmoil in Afghanistan,’ said Iftikhar.

He said that more than three million Afghan refugees were camped here, which was a tremendous economic burden on the country.

He said that in the prevailing scenario, the US must provide immediate direct market access to Pakistani products on zero rate duty to help stabilise the country’s economy instead of any grant or aid.

‘The US should buy products from industrial zones in Pakistan and help strengthen the existing industrial network with the provision of modern infrastructure,’ said Iftikhar.

He observed that due to the unrest and turmoil in Afghanistan, a major chunk of Pakistan’s food stock was smuggled to the neighboring country which ultimately leads to acute food grain scarcity within Pakistan.—APP


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