U.S.-Pakistan Plan to Improve Trade and Investment Signals Modest Progress
The U.S. and Pakistan announced in Washington, D.C., May 13 a joint action plan to expand two-way trade and investment flows over the next five years. A press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative states that the goals and areas of cooperation included in the plan are diversifying agricultural production, promoting intellectual property protection, implementing the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, seeking Pakistan’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, conducting outreach to U.S. state and local governments, enhancing entrepreneurship, and increasing dialogue between the U.S. and Pakistani private sectors.
The joint action plan was signed during a meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan Trade and Investment Council established under the bilateral trade and investment framework agreement. USTR states that on the margins of that meeting private sector representatives discussed opportunities and challenges in the textiles and apparel and information and communications technologies sectors. Pakistan is a sizeable producer of textile and apparel goods and has sought preferential access for those products to the U.S. market, either through a bilateral free trade agreement or expanded eligibility under the Generalized System of Preferences, for many years. The fact that this issue was not among those listed in the joint action plan or otherwise mentioned by USTR would appear to signal, however, that no changes of this or a similar nature are imminent.