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US agrees to help resolve Pak product access issue
Publication Date : 25-10-2012
All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) and the US Consulate have agreed on a joint working strategy for resolving the issues confronting industrial growth of Pakistan due to a limited access to the American market.
A consensus to this effect was evolved between the association leaders and US Consul General Nina Maria Fight at the Aptma House, a press release said.
The US diplomat explained as how her government was helping out Pakistan in energy projects. The US is also working on smaller projects with Discos to deal with the problem of efficiency and circular debt.
Saying that there was a need for consistency in policies on the part of Pakistan, she assured the Aptma leadership of facilitating it in discussion with Washington on textile tariff lines.
According to her, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was not necessarily a quick process and the Pakistan government was considering a bilateral investment treaty with the US.
The US has given its consent and there is a need to speed up the process in Pakistan as it would be the first step towards the FTA, she added.
Regarding supply of quality cotton seed to Pakistan, the envoy said that the US firm Monsanto has concerns about the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
According to her, a new visa procedure was in the process on the part of the US in order to simplify the filing process and it was likely to be finalised soon.
Nina also urged the businessmen to keep abreast the US Consulate in case they were not treated well on their visit to the United States, assuring of taking any such feedback seriously.
Earlier, Aptma central chairman Ahsan Bashir said that the textile value added industry was unable to compete in the US market due to preferential trade agreement with the competitors.
He said Pakistan textile exports were not more than 3 per cent to the US due to limited market access and added that Pakistan exports may reach to US$30 billion in three years if raw materials exported to the US were converted to garments.
He said the competitors were using Pakistan’s raw materials to export to the US and the West. He further clarified that the garment industry was not energy-intensive therefore energy shortage in Pakistan was not an impediment for the garment industry if the market access is provided with by the US.
Aptma Punjab chairman Shahzad Ali Khan said that Pakistan’s textile industry had no threat from trade opening with India provided that there were no trade and non-tariff barriers from India in place.