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U.S., Pakistan Trade

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin Lavin says Pakistan's government has made progress in opening the country to greater trade and investment. But he says much more can be done to help Pakistan realize its economic potential.

"The good news in Pakistan's economy," Mr. Lavin said in a speech to the American Business Council in Islamabad, Pakistan, "is reflected in the good news in the commercial relationship with the United States. Trade between our countries," he said, "has increased sixty percent in the last five years, equaling four and a half billion dollars in 2005.

The United States is Pakistan's largest partner for both trade and investment." "U.S. companies," said Mr. Lavin, "invest more than one-billion dollars per year in Pakistan in diverse industries such as financial services, consumer goods, food and beverages, and agribusiness." That investment can grow, he said, if Pakistan continues reforms that attract foreign investment.

"Successful markets are open, transparent, and protect the interests and property of foreign companies," said Mr. Lavin. Under Secretary of Commerce Lavin said by "building a vibrant Intellectual Property Rights regime, and removing market access barriers that impede competition, Pakistan will improve its investment climate and serve notice that it is a secure and smart location to invest."

In fact, the U.S. and Pakistan are working to finalize a Bilateral Investment Treaty. The United States believes a high-standard agreement would deepen cross-border investment ties, helping to boost economic growth and prosperity.

Under Secretary of Commerce Franklin Lavin said that increased trade between the United States and Pakistan "will give us the means to tackle the other problems we face." Trade, said Mr. Lavin, "is about creating opportunities, building better societies, and eliminating poverty."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.