Politics

US Business Diplomacy may work to improve relations with Pakistan

Aftab Ahmed

Islamabad: As relations between two allies-Pakistan and United States (US) have been tensed in recent past due to increased presence of China through China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), a delegation of United States (US) is visiting Islamabad this week to find out investment opportunities in partnership with Pakistani business, a move that may put relations on old path.

Pakistan has been on frontline in war against terrorism, but US tilt has been towards India that had led to tensions between two allies. The presence of US has been through multilateral donors and there had not been footprints of major US countries in Pakistan.

However, China had made footprints in Pakistan through CPEC which increased tensions in US ranks. Now, US also seems to be following the footprints of China and encouraging her companies to make investment in Pakistan. The recent example is US energy giant ExxonMobil that was partner of Pakistani exploration companies in drilling offshore. Though effort failed but US energy giant entered into another business of LNG and was setting up LNG terminal in Karachi now.

United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had visited Pakistan in February this year following directions of US President Donald Trump. During his visit, Ross had said that the Department of Commerce will continue to facilitate private sector engagement between the United States and Pakistan through organizing Pakistani business delegations to U.S. and regional trade shows and supporting technical exchanges on trade facilitation, energy, intellectual property rights, and good regulatory practices.

Following Ross visit to Pakistan, an important delegation led by US Special Representative for Afghanistan was visiting Pakistan this week along with CEO of DFC, Adam Boehler to discuss vast of issue with concerned authorities in Pakistan.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has left USA to Doha, Islamabad, and Tashkent. At all three locations, Ambassador Khalilzad will urge support for all Afghans to meet their remaining commitments ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations, specifically reduced violence and timely prisoner releases, said an official release of US embassy in Islamabad.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of US, International Development of Finance Corporation (DFC), Adam Boehler is visiting Pakistan to discuss the opportunities of funding projects in the private sector.

Prime Minister Advisor on Commerce & Trade, Abdul Razak Dawood, said in his tweet, “This is an indication of interests being shown by the US Government for investment in Pakistan”.

Ambassador Khalilzad is joined by U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler and his team. Afghan peace, economic growth, and regional connectivity are closely linked and mutually supportive, said the statement.

The delegation will explore investment opportunities and partnerships in a range of sectors to advance the economic recovery of Afghanistan and support sustained peace and stability in the region. Due to the challenges of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ambassador Khalilzad, CEO Boehler, and their delegation will also conduct meetings with Afghan officials throughout the trip remotely via video, the statement concludes.

US diplomats have been saying that Pakistan had 70 per cent population below 30 and IT sector could provide lot of opportunities of employment for Pakistani youth.US government has been providing technical expertise and US embassy in Pakistan had been very active in close contact of Pakistan’s SME sector.US Embassy has also been engaged in Starts Up competition and several Pakistani people had won the starts up. So, US should follow this model in Pakistan and encourage US companies to make joint ventures here.

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