ISLAMABAD -  United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Michael Froman led a delegation to Islamabad to discuss the ongoing US-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the government of Pakistan, a US embassy statement said.

The TIFA Council meeting, hosted by Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, covered a broad range of trade and investment-related issues, including expanded market access for Pakistani goods to the United States, cooperation on labour reforms, business-to-business ties, and intellectual property, among others.

“The US greatly values its economic relationship with Pakistan. That relationship is a strong one that is responsible for the livelihoods of many thousands of people and their families. We have accomplished much, but much remains to be done,” ambassador Froman said. “We believe that the best years of our relationship are in front of us as we work to more fully take advantage of the enormous opportunities that lie before us.”

Both sides highlighted specific ongoing cooperation related to expanding trade and investment.

They noted, for example, the September launch of a 15-year partnership between USAID and five Pakistani banks to make approximately $88 million available for private sector clean energy development in Pakistan, under the US-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership.

The United States noted that initial investments in Pakistan will be made this year under the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII), three investment funds that match USAID funding with private sector funds to invest at least $150 million in Pakistani small and medium-sized businesses.

Between PPII, the new energy initiative, and the US-Pakistan Partnership for Access to Credit ($60 million), USAID will make nearly $300 million in access to financing available in Pakistan in coming years. 

Ambassador Froman also pledged to continue to support Pakistan’s strategy to improve its ranking on the World Bank’s Doing Business index.

He also noted the good cooperation under the US-Pakistan Memorandum of Understanding on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, which was signed at the 2014 TIFA Council meeting. It was codified in a comprehensive plan in June and includes the efforts of the US-Pakistan Women’s Council.

In addition to the TIFA meeting, ambassador Froman also called on Pakistani officials to discuss issues of bilateral interest. During his meetings, Ambassador Froman emphasized that the United States remains committed to working with the government of Pakistan and the private sector to enhance bilateral trade and investment ties.

The United States is the largest country destination for Pakistani exports and is one of the country’s primary sources of foreign direct investment. In 2015, bilateral trade between Pakistan and the U.S. surpassed $5.5 billion.

The US-Pakistan TIFA provides a strategic framework and principles for dialogue on trade and investment issues between the two nations.