Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday said that Pakistan has fairly stable foreign exchange reserves and buoyant stock market, which shows the confidence of the business community in the economic policies.

He said this while talking to Thomas Williams, Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy in Islamabad who called on him. Both the sides discussed the bilateral economic issues and cooperation between the two countries. Senator Ishaq Dar informed the Charge’d Affairs that the structural reforms, the new government undertook after coming into power have started to yield positive results and all economic indicators are as per our projection or even better.

The Finance Minister said that energy remains one of the highest priorities of the present government. In this connection the government is working on fast track to the indigenous resources to reduce the dependence on imported resources, he added. The Finance Minister also discussed CASA-1000 Power Transmission Project and hydropower projects in Pakistan including Dasu and Diamir Bhasha Dams with the Charge d’Affaires.

The Charge d’Affaires assured the Finance Minister that the US would continue to maintain partnership with Pakistan and will work for peace and stability in the region. He said that we are looking forward to enhance our existing relations in all areas of mutual interest. He informed the Finance Minister that the reimbursements to Pakistan on account of Coalition Support Fund are on track.

The Charge d’Affaires expressed the hope that import of live animals from the US will be allowed by the government. In this regard, the Finance Minister said that the ECC would take appropriate decision in case of submission of summary by the relevant Ministry.

Meanwhile, Greg Giokas, Canadian High Commissioner also called on Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. The High Commissioner informed the Finance Minister that his last visit to Toronto and meetings with Canadian officials had a very positive impact on enhancing cooperation between the two countries. He also appreciated participation of businessmen and investors in Canada-Pakistan Business Council meeting held in Toronto. He mentioned that there is an enormous enthusiasm in Canadian investors and Asian Diaspora over economic developments in Pakistan in light of Prime Minister’s recent visit to New Delhi.

He mentioned that there is huge potential in agriculture sector of Pakistan and he is leading a team comprising officials from Canada, USA and Australia for helping farmers and stakeholders in policy formulation for transformation of agriculture sector in Pakistan. He said that the group is working on consultation with value chain which will make implementation of policy framework easier. He gave an example of Canadian agri exports from CAD 15 million to 50 billion during a period of ten year due to appropriate policy formulation. He said that we are interested to share our methodology and experience with Pakistan. He informed the Finance Minister that international community want to see Pakistan succeed in its reform agenda.

The Finance Minister informed the High Commissioner that agriculture sector is our priority and we have plans for provision of micro financing to small farmers. He said that the agriculture sector drives the whole economy and appreciate the valuable contributions being made by the Canadian High Commissioner. He said that it is quickest result producing sector and the present government is focusing on new initiatives in this regard.

On regional connectivity, the Finance Minister said that we believe in regional trade and opening of new vistas to expand our trade and economic relations with the neighbours and beyond. He said that Pakistan provided a good opportunity to international investors in Pakistan particularly in hydro carbon exploration, energy and infrastructure development sectors and urged for investment by Canadian firms.