A 9th meeting of the US-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council has been concluded with a focus on enhancing agricultural and digital trade. A meeting was held between the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Pakistani Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar.
Both countries agreed that a robust trade relationship is critical to Pakistan’s economic stability, particularly after last year’s devastating floods. Ned Price, State Department spokesman, stressed the importance of providing American businesses with new opportunities and exposing them to Pakistani markets.
The need for greater collaboration in areas like agriculture, digital trade, intellectual property protection and enforcement, labor rights, good regulatory practices, and women’s economic empowerment was highlighted in the joint statement on the TIFA talks. To strengthen the bilateral economic relationship and advance prosperity for the working people in both countries, both governments decided to have more discussions about these issues.
The US has been Pakistan’s largest export market and a major investor for the past 20 years, with investments rising by 50% in the last year, and it remains committed to strengthening these ties. Both parties agreed on the significance of a strong intellectual property regime, attaining high labor standards, and adhering to sound regulatory principles.
As both nations committed to advancing programmes and policies that promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, Ambassador Tai emphasized the need to elevate women’s role in Pakistan’s economic growth.
The progress and commitments made in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Joint Efforts to Empower Women and to Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship are reflected in a separate joint statement released by the ministers. This aims to support inclusive value chains, diverse suppliers, peer learning and mentoring, and fair and open access to the global market.
Both parties expressed their intent to increase engagement on market access and lower barriers for additional agricultural products as they welcomed the conclusion of technical work on market access for beef from the US. Pakistan welcomed the ongoing discussions regarding market access for its fresh dates and mangoes and asked the US to consider future requests for market access for agricultural products once the current work is finished.
The following council meeting is scheduled to be held in Islamabad in 2024, and the TIFA Council anticipates continued and regularized inter-sessional work throughout 2023. Beyond their shared military interests, the US and Pakistan are still committed to strengthening their strategic partnership and expanding their economic ties.