The U.S. established diplomatic relations with Pakistan following the country’s creation in 1947. We have a broad multi-faceted partnership with Pakistan in areas ranging from education to energy to trade and investment. Furthermore, the U.S. and Pakistan continue to work together on counterterrorism and other security threats. Attacks in 2014 on the Karachi airport and on an Army school in Peshawar had a catalytic effect across Pakistan and led to the adoption of a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism, and invigorated efforts to eliminate safe havens of anti-state militants within Pakistan. The U.S. welcomed Pakistan’s pledge to deny any militant group safe haven or the use of Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks and continues to press Pakistan to take sustained and irreversible action against all terrorist groups within its borders. Pakistan continues to conduct operations to counter domestic terrorism.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Pakistan’s largest export market with bilateral trade in 2019 standing at $6.5 billion, and with Pakistan running a modest surplus of $1.3 billion. The United States has been one of the top investors in Pakistan over the last two decades, with major U.S. investments concentrated in consumer goods, chemicals, energy, agriculture, business process out-sourcing, transportation, and communications. In his July 2019 meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Trump called for a dramatic expansion of U.S.-Pakistan commercial ties. Since then, the U.S. government has worked to operationalize that vision through enhanced bilateral economic coordination. In February 2020, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross met with senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad to discuss how to deepen trade and investment ties; and in July 2020, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adm Boehler paid a similar visit to discuss potential investment support for development projects. Pakistan’s significant business climate issues, including regulatory barriers, weak intellectual property protections, and discriminatory taxation, have impeded U.S. firms from operating in the country. Pakistan has made some progress address with its recent economic reforms, ranking 108 in the World Bank‘s Ease of Doing Business rankings in 2019, a 28-slot improvement from 2018. The United States continue to work with Pakistan to achieve further business climate enhancements.
Recognizing the critical role women play in fostering economic growth and development, the United States launched the second phase of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council in March 2019. The Council is a unique public-private partnership between the State Department and Texas A&M University that catalyzes private sector, civil society and government commitments to support women’s entrepreneurship, employment and access to educational opportunities in Pakistan.
U.S. Civilian Assistance to Pakistan
The U.S.-Pakistan assistance partnership is helping Pakistan become a more secure, prosperous and stable democracy that contributes to stability in the region. Since 2001, The U.S. government has committed over $10 billion to further this partnership. Civilian assistance focuses on areas of mutual priority, such as increasing bilateral trade and working with Pakistani institutions to strengthen health systems.