US, Pakistan to launch initiatives to bolster trade investment prospects

The United States and Pakistan will be engaged in a range of initiatives in the coming months to help bolster cooperation in trade, investment and energy sectors.

Briefing journalists about a series of meetings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had with top Obama administration officials, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said the Pakistan-US Working Group on Energy will meet in Houston and Washington in November to discuss ways to expand cooperation.

US Finance Secretary Jack Lew hosted dinner for the prime ministerial delegation, which was attended by secretaries of energy, US trade representative, USAID chief and president of Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Earlier, World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In all meetings, officials and heads of financial institutions were appreciative of the government’s reforms, the foreign secretary said.

“The US officials said the reform process has had the desired effect and has created a lot of excitement in the investors’ community to look at Pakistan seriously for business.”

Under another initiative, the United States would invite Pakistani businessmen and send “buyers mission” to spur trade prospects.

“The United States is one of our largest trading partners and promotion of trade and investment has been the main theme of prime minister’s official visit,” Jilani said.

He said informed the media that World Bank has agreed to finance the Dasu power project. “We have noticed a lot of positivity in the meetings,” he said, adding that the US officials appreciate Pakistan’s focus on energy, economy and bringing good governance.

“They see a lot of seriousness and commitment on part of the government in addressing multifarious challenges and the focus on good governance,” Jilani said, when asked about the reasons for this positivity towards the new government.

The foreign secretary reported the two sides have convergences on almost all issues.

On the Capitol Hill, the Prime Minister also had a meeting with House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Congressman Ed Royce.

In his meetings, the diplomat said, Prime Minister Sharif raised the issue of drone operations on Pakistani territory, saying they are counterproductive to efforts aimed at eliminating the menace of terror.

The Prime Minister also raised the Kashmir dispute while outlining his vision for regional peace to the American officials.