Washington – Pakistani companies are eligible to participate in U.S. Department of Defense Procurement opportunities related to operations in Afghanistan, President Obama told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.
The two leaders held wide-ranging talks at the White House on the second day of Prime Minister Sharif’s visit at the invitation of President Obama, his second to Washington in two years. Sharif was here in 2013, months after he won premiership for the record-third time winning a general election.
A Joint Statement issued after the meeting said the two leaders reaffirmed that the United States and Pakistan have a mutual interest in expanding bilateral trade and investment.
President Obama indicated that the United States will help Pakistan create conditions for accelerated trade and investment-driven growth. The United States is Pakistan’s single largest trading partner and the two-way trade is close $6 billion dollars.
The two leaders noted the renewal of the General System of Preferences (GSP) program in June, after the lapse of two years, and acknowledged the importance of the U.S.-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) process.
President Obama conveyed that Pakistani companies are eligible to participate in U.S. Department of Defense procurement opportunities related to operations in Afghanistan, in accordance with U.S. law and regulation, and encouraged Pakistan to pursue accession to the General Procurement Agreement of the World Trade Organization.
Prime Minister Sharif reiterated the importance of market access for Pakistan as the most effective, mutually beneficial and durable form of bilateral economic partnership. The leaders recognized the success of the Joint Action Plan to expand trade and investment, established after Prime Minister Sharif’s 2013 visit, and acknowledged their intent to augment the plan.
The leaders also noted the U.S.-Pakistan Memorandum of Understanding on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, signed at the 2014 TIFA, which includes the efforts of the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council.
President Obama reaffirmed U.S. support for the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) electricity corridor, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline project, and other measures to enhance regional economic connectivity and growth.