The 8th annual meeting of U.S.-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was held in Islamabad to review steps agreed between the two countries to promote bilateral trade and promote access of Pakistani traders to the U.S. market.
TIFA was launched in 2003 and bilateral trade has since grown by 50 percent in the last seven years. The United States is Pakistan’s largest exports destination and of its largest source of foreign direct investment.
The TIFA meeting held in Islamabad this week was co-hosted by U.S. Trade Representative Michael B. Froman and Pakistan Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan. The two sides emphasized that the United States and Pakistan remain committed to working together and with the private sector to expand bilateral trade and investment ties, as part of an enduring, multifaceted bilateral relationship.
Important outcomes of this TIFA Council meeting included: renewed outreach on the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program to Pakistani exporters and a commitment to jointly lead a high-level trade agricultural delegation from Pakistan to the United States in 2017.
The U.S. administration will also facilitate over 20 additional Pakistani delegations to U.S. trade shows. The other items on the agenda included improved Pakistan government dialogue with foreign pharmaceutical firms, especially concerning the business environment; US facilitation of improved awareness of the process for bidding on U.S. Department of Defense procurements that support U.S. operations in Afghanistan and progress on scheduling the next U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference.
Pakistan renewed its request for better U.S. market access, especially for its apparel industry, and noted concerns about language in the U.S. Department of States’ travel warning on Pakistan and its impact on trade.
The United States hosted a GSP outreach event with Pakistan business associations immediately following the TIFA Council meeting to increase awareness of the U.S. GSP program among Pakistani exporters.