Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pakistan Seeks Economic Re-Engagement With the US

The government has created an apex committee to look for ways to reengage economically with the new US administration, including pursuing investment through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The 14-member ministerial apex committee will meet at the Foreign Office next week to discuss a variety of economic and commercial initiatives aimed at improving ties with the United States. Official records indicate that national security and defense cooperation are not on the table. The agenda for the first meeting suggests that the ruling Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf wants to rekindle economic relations with Washington after a two-and-a-half-year period of slow progress on the CPEC.

The apex committee’s chairman has been appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Members of the committee include the ministers of finance, national food security, economic affairs, information technology, national security advisor, and the PM’s aides for trade, climate change, human resource growth, power, and investment.

The Board of Investment (BoI) has suggested that Pakistan can give the US some areas of cooperation through CPEC, but that we must be mindful of both the US and Chinese sensitivities. China had previously refused Pakistan’s request to include Saudi Arabia in the CPEC process. The Board of Investment has also proposed increasing US foreign direct investment in Pakistan, especially through technology companies. Special incentive regimes are also used by the BoI to attract US investment.

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