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May 2, 2021

US senators introduce bill for duty-free economic zones along Pak-Afghan border

By News Desk

WASHINGTON/ LAHORE: US senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to promote and generate economic benefits for Pakistan and Afghanistan by establishing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones along Afghanistan and Pakistan border.

The bill is called the ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Economic Development Act’. The legislation proposes the set up of a reconstruction opportunity zones along Pak-Afghan border areas. “The bill would establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s border regions to allow certain products from these areas to enter the US duty-free,” a statement read.

The bipartisan bill was introduced by Democrat Senators Van Hollen, Maria Cantwell and Republican Senator Todd Young. The outlined objectives of the say that fostering trade with the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region will help bolster economic development and improve the livelihoods of local populations.

The effort will further US diplomatic objectives in the region by contributing to political stability and addressing the root causes of violent extremism, as well as expanding trade with Pakistan will strengthen ties with a key strategic partner and enhance economic development in a region important to US interests.

Pakistani-born American Democrat leader and well-known businessman Tahir Javed says this legislation allows textile goods to be sent to US without duty.”If [this] bill becomes part of law after approval, it will be of great benefit to Pakistan for 10 years,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s exports to US could increase tenfold.

Javed expressed the belief that the legislation will bring economic benefits to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The democrat leader said the bill has been introduced to promote stability in the region and can solve many of Pakistan’s problems.

The Democrat leader said this bill could mean relations between Pakistan and US may find a new direction Efforts will be made to get 60 votes in making the economic bill a law, he said.