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Business

October 20, 2016

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US keen to help Pakistan develop digital economy

US keen to help Pakistan develop digital economy

ISLAMABAD: The United States is keen to help Pakistan in developing the country’s information technology infrastructure in the underserved areas, its envoy said.

United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Michael Froman, during a meeting with the minister for finance Ishaq Dar on Wednesday, said the US looks forward to further collaborate with Pakistan in developing digital economy, which could provide opportunities to far flung areas in the country.

“Pakistan’s information technology infrastructure is growing at a commendable pace and providing opportunities for growth to small and medium enterprises through electronic commerce,” Froman said.

He thanked the finance minister for Pakistan’s active engagement in the trade and services agreement of the World Trade Organization. “Pakistan is leading in this area in the region,” he said. Minister Dar apprised the USTR ambassador of the reforms undertaken by the government for stabilisation and growth of the economy.

“Pakistan has undergone considerable tax reforms, which resulted in record tax revenue collection in the last three years,” he said. “Pakistan has also made significant progress in meeting energy shortfall and overcoming security situation of the country.”

Froman congratulated Dar on successful completion of the International Monetary Fund’s programme. He appreciated the measures taken by the government to turn around the economy. He acknowledged the improved investment climate and economic conditions in Pakistan and expressed full support to measures necessary for strengthening bilateral trade ties.

The finance minister said the investment policy 2013 of the country aimed at improving the ease of doing business. “All economic sectors are open to foreign direct investment,” he said. He urged the US government to continue facilitating private US investment in Pakistan.

Dar said the present government is undertaking the legislations in the fields of anti-money laundering, counter terrorism and companies law. He said Pakistan has recently become a signatory to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance on tax matters.

The minister appreciated the value of US as a trade partner and hoped that bilateral trade would grow further as there was an immense potential. He encouraged further US investment in Pakistan. “All possible efforts are being made to ensure that a level-playing field is accorded to international companies working in Pakistan,” he said. “Doors remain open for further investment from and expansion of US companies in Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, Talal Abu Ghazaleh, a global IT leader, from Jordan, during a meeting with the finance minister on Wednesday, said fast expansion of IT services to far-flung areas of Pakistan and healthy market competition provides considerable opportunities for establishing new businesses in the country.

Ghazaleh congratulated the finance minister on the country’s economic turnaround in the last three years. “There are tremendous investment and business opportunities in Pakistan,” he said.  The minister said the government’s priority is to further improve the ease of doing business indicator.  “Pakistan is receiving international recognition for creating the right atmosphere for international businesses to invest in the country,” he said.

 

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