Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides and Finance Minister of Pakistan Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh co-chaired the U.S.-Pakistan Economic and Finance Working Group in Washington, DC on November 30. The working group focused on expanding bilateral economic engagement, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.
Both sides committed to broadening private sector ties between their two countries. Deputy Secretary Nides highlighted the U.S. Government’s many initiatives in this area – including a Pakistan investment conference in London hosted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in October, the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, and a series of conferences and virtual meetings devoted to training and mentoring Pakistan’s entrepreneurs.
In other meetings, senior State Department officials and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also highlighted the positive results of ongoing civilian assistance programs in Pakistan, including significant contributions in sectors critical to economic growth – such as the addition of more than 400 MW of capacity to Pakistan’s power grid and the construction of over 650 km of roads to date. Both sides agreed that Pakistan’s prosperity is predicated on energy sector reform; the United States welcomed Pakistan’s commitment to undertake the reforms needed to attract greater investment.
The United States commended Pakistan’s recent efforts to expand economic cooperation with its neighbors. Both sides discussed ways to improve trade and transit with Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, citing the importance of enhanced trade for the region’s stability and prosperity. The United States welcomed the Government of Pakistan’s plans to extend most-favored-nation status to India by the end of the year.
The U.S. delegation included senior representatives from the Department of State, USAID, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the National Security Staff.