US Trade Chief, Pakistan Commerce Minister Agree To Continue Negotiations Framework

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th May, 2021) Top US trade negotiator Katherine Tai and Pakistan's Minister of Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood have agreed to continue their dialogue on trade relations between the two countries, the Office of the Trade Representative (USTR) announced.

"US Trade Representative Katherine Tai today met virtually with Pakistani Minister of Commerce and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood," the USTR said in a readout on Thursday. "[They] agreed to continue the US-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Agreement dialogue."

Tai also expressed the desire to build a strong US-Pakistan trade relationship, the readout added.

Tai said the Biden-Harris administration's top priority was saving lives and ending the pandemic in the United States and around the world, along with expanding vaccines production and distribution for developing countries, the readout said.

The US-Pakistani TIFA, signed in 2003, stipulates that both parties affirm the need to promote an attractive investment climate and expand trade in products and services between the two nations. The parties also recognize the need to reduce tariffs and eliminate non-tariff barriers to facilitate greater access to the markets of both countries, according to the document.

TIFA also calls for monitoring trade and investment relations and identify opportunities for expanding trade that may be appropriate for negotiation. The framework, both sides agree, can help prepare the parties for an eventual free trade negotiations.

According to the USTR, Pakistan is the United States' 56th largest trading partner with some $6.6 billion in two trade during 2019. The US goods trade deficit with Pakistan was $1.3 billion in 2019, the agency said in a fact sheet.