As the US Secretary of State John Kerry is hobnobbing with Indian officials to consolidate trade and defense relations with New Delhi, aUS trade official for South Asia, Michael Delaney, is visiting Islamabad and has urged Pakistan to remove all the barriers which hinder business and trade relations between the two countries.In New Delhi, the United States and India have signed various agreements, including pushing up trade between the two countries up to $500 billion in coming years.Whatever the US and India are doing for their mutual interests is their prerogative, but the statement of the US official about the barriers placed by Islamabad on trade and investment needs to be taken seriously. The United States is economic power and a great source of business for the developing nations. Despite close relations with Washington, Pakistan could not enhance its trade with US and it still hovers around $5 billion per year. Malaysia and Bangladesh are very late entrants in the US market, but their performance is much better than Pakistan.
One of the major problems facing the nation is political instability which has ripple effects on every sector of the economy. The government has also failed to do its homework to deal with multiple issues facing the nations, including security challenges, energy crisis and poor infrastructure. The country is also facing internal and external challenges, but the political leadership has failed to come on the same page.
Despite appreciating Islamabad for its actions against terror groups, the US secretary of State could not resist himself from Pakistan bashing. Pakistan and China are going extra miles to enhance trade relations between the two countries. It would have been better if US could insist India to join the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and usher in a new era of peace and stability in the region. The senior US officials also failed to utter a word in favour of Kashmiris who have been facing India’s state terrorism for the last two months and are living a miserable life under persistent curfew.
The US official in Islamabad has correctly pointed out the hurdles in the promotion of trade and investment between Pakistan and the United States.Despite launching across the board action against terrorists, the country is receiving very low volume of foreign investment as compared to the countries in the region. Delaney has also referred to Pakistan’s unreasonable place in the ease of doing business index and difficulties faced by the businesscommunity of the country. He called for reduction in tariff rates and phasing out of SROs which causing more harm than any good to the economy.