Washington, DC –Ambassador Michael Froman and Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan, met in Washington DC today to discuss a variety of trade and investment issues and to chart a path forward on improving bilateral trade and investment flows over the next five years. The United States – Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is the primary mechanism for both Parties to discuss trade and investment issues and focus on ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
The United States and Pakistan announced agreement on a Joint Action Plan to expand bilateral trade and investment flows over the next five years. Among the areas of cooperation included in the Joint Action Plan are: 1) diversifying agricultural production; 2) enhancing intellectual property protection; 3) implementing the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement; 4) engaging on Pakistan’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement; 5) increasing trade in services; 6) outreach to U.S. State and Local Governments; 7) promoting entrepreneurship; and 8) increasing dialogue between our respective private sectors. Both governments will immediately begin work on implementing the Joint Action Plan. As noted in the Joint Action Plan, the United States and Pakistan established a bilateral working group to meet regularly to oversee implementation of the Joint Action Plan and to monitor progress in specific areas.
At the TIFA Council Meeting, the United States and Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Joint Efforts to Empower Women and to Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship. This is a historic MOU that will provide a mechanism for discussion on how to help ensure that women participate fully in the economy and have access to economic, as well as trade and investment, opportunities. Key elements of the MOU include exploring ways to: 1) ensure strong interagency and inter-ministerial support for, and coordination of, policies and programs aimed at the economic empowerment of women; 2) promote access to information about laws, regulations, policies, including information on international trade rules, requirements and preference programs; and 3) address and remove the impediments that women and women entrepreneurs generally face. The United States and Pakistan intend the MOU to be a standing item on the agenda for all future TIFAs and intend to begin discussions immediately on an implementation plan for the MOU.
At the TIFA Council Meeting, both governments discussed market access opportunities and exchanged views on how to enhance those opportunities. On the margins of the TIFA Council Meeting, private sector representatives from the United States and Pakistan met to discuss trade and investment opportunities in the textiles and apparel sector, as well as in the information and the communications technologies sector.
The Parties plan to host the next Business Opportunities Conference in Pakistan in 2014 and to hold the next TIFA Council Meeting in Pakistan in 2015.