The United States is planning to send 15 trade delegations to Pakistan in 2020 to explore possibilities for expanding trade with the country, says Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells.
This information was in a paper which Wells read at a Washington think-tank last week. She focused heavily on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but it also included various suggestions for expanding US-Pakistan trade ties.
The U.S. Commerce Department has already stepped up its activity in Pakistan with 15 trade delegations planned for the next year read the paper which has now been posted at the US State Department’s official site.
It further stated that once the new expanded Development Finance Corporation or DFC is stood up, ”Pakistan is going to be a country of great interest”. The DFC will have more than double the investment cap than OPIC, increasing from 29 billion to 60 billion, enabling projects that have high standards and are financially sustainable over the long haul.
She recalled that during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the United States in July, President Donald Trump was “extremely enthusiastic about the potential for increasing and expanding our US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship. And both our governments are working very hard to find practical ways to do that. We commend Pakistan for surging 28 slots on the World Bank’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business ranking and being highlighted as one of the top ten reformers globally,” she added.
While urging Pakistan to benefit from these additional US resources, Wells reminded Islamabad last week that “true sustainable development is really a marathon and not a sprint. It requires the development of effective regulatory framework, strong rule of law, fiscal health, and an enabling business climate”.
She further highlighted that the U.S. firm Excelerate is prepared to potentially invest more than $300 million to upgrade a floating storage regasification unit in Pakistan’s first LNG terminal. ExxonMobil has been working to support Pakistan’s ambitious effort to access new LNG supplies.
Over the last five years, PepsiCo has invested $800 million to expand its infrastructure and diversify products, and Coca-Cola has invested $500 million in the last couple of years, providing thousands of jobs for Pakistanis, she noted.
Proctor & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Programme has provided 875 million liters of clean drinking water to Pakistani communities in need.
US has added over added 3500 megawatts to Pakistan’s power supply, benefiting more than 42 million Pakistanis as well as mobilizing more than 1.7 billion in private investment for energy projects in Pakistan, as well as helping Pakistan finance its first LNG terminal.
The paper further read that Uber Technologies entered the Pakistani market in 2016 and currently operates across nine cities, providing employment opportunities for thousands of Pakistanis. And further, the United States government partners with Pakistan to adopt reforms, empower local communities and achieve self-reliance and prosperity. And just to be crystal clear, the U.S.-Pakistan development partnership has primarily taken the form of grants — not loans, she added.
The US has also helped establish some of Pakistan’s most prestigious educational institutions and centers including LUMS, IBA, JPMC and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy at NUST.