Former US envoy urges to expand trade and investment ties with Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Advocating the importance of closer US-Pakistan relations, former American envoy to the region Marc Grossman has called upon Washington to strengthen its trade and investment ties with the key South Asian country.

Grossman, who left the Obama Administration in December 2012 after serving for about two years as US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, noted though the ties between the two anti-terror partners have improved from a plunge in 2011, still “there is a huge amount to be done,” in the vital relationship.

“Very importantly from my perspective, (the US should focus on) moving from assistance-based relations with Pakistan to something based on the private sector and foreign direct investment in Pakistan,” he stated at a Washington think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Speaking in his first public event since stepping down as special representative, Grossman said as the two countries re-engaged after a spate of crisis in 2011, they recognized that it was time to make the relationship more trade-focused.

He also underlined that the United States “should continue to take steps with Pakistan to promote further counterterrorism cooperation and support for peace in Afghanistan.”

Grossman said one of the important developments in the last year has been Pakistan’s open expression of its commitment to support an Afghan-led peace process.

The career diplomat discussed the United States’ relations with neighbors Pakistan and Afghanistan as Washington worked to meet the 2014 military drawdown deadline in cooperation with Islamabad and other international partners.

On Afghanistan, Grossman said the United States should make use of all elements of its power simultaneously to ensure that the country is able to carry forward the progress it has made since 2001.

The international community, he said, should translate its Tokyo and Chicago conferences pledges and assist Afghanistan’s development in the years ahead while Kabul, for its part, should ensure accountability and work for women’s rights