U.S., Pakistan Expand Plan to Boost Trade and Investment
The U.S. and Pakistan recently announced steps to further increase two-way trade and investment. These steps, outlined below, augment a joint action plan rolled out in May 2014 that focused on issues such as diversifying agricultural production, promoting intellectual property protection, implementing the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and seeking Pakistan’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.
GSP. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will enhance current outreach and training efforts to boost utilization of the Generalized System of Preferences and is prepared to assist the government of Pakistan in identifying and petitioning for additional GSP tariff lines and to obtain eligibility for exports of goods under newly GSP-eligible travel goods tariff lines. Expanded GSP eligibility, particularly for textile and apparel articles, has been high on Pakistan’s list of priorities in recent years.
Textiles and Apparel. The U.S. will help upgrade the capabilities of Pakistan’s ready-made garments sector through support of vocational centers dedicated to RMG and improvements in industry labor conditions. U.S. assistance will also help scale-up Pakistan’s International Labor Organization-International Labor Standards textile program and support the launch of an ILO “Better Work Program.” The U.S. will support an investment event in New York to highlight opportunities in Pakistan’s RMG industry and other sectors.
Trade Facilitation. The U.S. will support Pakistan’s efforts to ratify and implement the TFA, including through technical assistance to Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue and other governmental and industry representatives of the National Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee.
Government Procurement. The U.S. will support Pakistan’s accession to the GPA through technical assistance, particularly with regard to bringing Pakistan’s government procurement laws and regulations into conformity with GPA eligibility standards. USTR and the Department of Commerce will assist Pakistan in building its capacity in sanitary, safety and other standards required of U.S. government procurements. Pakistani vendors will also be eligible to bid on select Department of Defense procurement opportunities that are in direct support of operations in Afghanistan.
Regional Agreement. The U.S. will sponsor Pakistan’s admission as an observer to the six-nation U.S.-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, to be formalized in November if desired.
Trade Missions. DOC will explore opportunities for high-level trade missions to the U.S.