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US envoy at APTMA, says keen to boost trade ties

By Our Correspondent
November 12, 2022

LAHORE: Donald Blome, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, said on Friday Washington was keen to foster bilateral trade relations with Pakistan.

He was speaking to members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) during his visit to the association’s Lahore office, along with Chris Rettgers, FAS Counsellor, and Kevin Ching, Economic Counsellor.

“The future of Pakistan and the US relations would be based on more interaction in the areas of trade, investment, climate change, energy and education fields,” he said. Blome said that there was an enormous potential to work together in the field of cotton and textile besides expanding trade and investment relations in other focused areas. The US ambassador said Pakistan had strong potential to grow in textile and other sectors and its exporters could easily benefit from the liberal economic policies followed by the US. He proposed APTMA leadership to focus on continuing engagements and dialogue with its American counterparts to increase trade

volume and to get the maximum benefit of economic partnership between both countries. Donald Blome also highlighted the issues confronting the expansion of trade and investment relations and expressed the hope that the government would overcome them with consistent efforts. He added that it was a challenge for the Pakistani entrepreneurs as to how they attract the US investment in Pakistan. He also hoped that the US buying houses would open their offices in Pakistan with the passage of time.

He added that Pakistan is most cost competitive in the region, but needs to improve it in addition to addressing the issues related to taxation, repatriation of profits, unpredictability on policies and legal system, etc.

The US ambassador said the American investors were active in the agriculture field in different parts of Pakistan. Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Dr Gohar Ejaz, patron-in-chief APTMA, stressed on helping Pakistan in the field of education and research to build capacity of young Pakistanis, especially in export-oriented areas.

He also urged the visiting envoy to help Pakistan in obtaining duty-free access to the US market for becoming competitive against other competitors. While suggesting the way forward, he stressed duty-free access for Pakistani exports to the US to reduce poverty and unemployment and to extend GSP Plus like access to Pakistan as already extended by the European Union.

Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Kamran Arshad made a detailed presentation about the strength of textile industry in Pakistan. Chairman APTMA North Zone Hamid Zaman said both the countries had huge potential to work together. He appreciated the positive approach of the US ambassador and expressed the hope that he would play his role in building bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.