Businessmen want fulfillment of market access promise
LAHORE: The business community on Monday called upon US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give practical shape to the announcements she made earlier during her last visit to the country for providing direct market access for Pakistani products to US markets.
Iftikhar Ali Malik, the Pak-US Business Council founder chairman and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pakistan Chapter vice president, told APP that Clinton, during her visit to Lahore and Islamabad in October 2009, made announcements to help stabilise the Pakistani economy by providing special concessions and direct market access, including long term investments in different sectors in Pakistan. Pakistan is an emerging market, rich with opportunities for American investment, while the US is already an important trading partner, he said, adding that the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-Pak Business Council could play a vital role in developing durable understanding 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 a fast track.
Iftikhar said that there was a vast scope for the US private-sector investors in Pakistan, particularly in the agricultural, power and IT sectors, adding that the US Chamber of Commerce can play a pivotal role in promoting bilateral trade relations.
He said that if the US was sincere with Pakistan in fighting terrorism, it must lift all economic restrictions on free flow of goods, and not impose duties, to fully facilitate the private sector of the country. He added that no action had so far been taken or reported from the US about any practical measures taken in this regard. Due to the war against terrorism, Pakistans national economy is constantly suffering major losses. In the prevailing scenario, the US must provide immediate direct market access to Pakistani products on zero-rate duty to help stabilise the countrys economy instead of providing grants or aid, he said. app