Despite United States (US) Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s visit to Islamabad, Pakistan and the US have failed to achieve ‘breakthrough’ for promoting trade ties between the two countries, Geo reported.
“This high-level visit proved a non-starter because the US did not make any firm commitments on three demands put forth by the Pakistani side on the negotiating table. It can be termed just a posturing visit as a balancing act in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s visit to arch-rival India,” the report said.
It quoted top officials as noting that the Pakistani side put forward three demands before the US delegation. Pakistan seeks a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), but the US side replied that “they would look into it” and did not make a commitment.
The delegation also disapproved Pakistan’s proposition to expand GSP Plus list for providing concession on export items from the US side, so it can once again become a non-starting area.
Furthermore, the Pakistani side demanded moving towards Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). However, the US authorities responded that they would see how things could proceed in future.
Pakistani officials still seemed confident to believe that the US would respond positively on TIFA front in the coming future, but the optimism seems groundless because no commitments have been made.
Keeping in view experience of the past many years, there have been several occasions when the US agreed to hold talks on TIFA and the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), but it always proved a futile exercise after holding sessions for several years.