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U.S. - Pakistan Economic Dialogue

The United States and Pakistan held their third economic dialogue in Islamabad, under the co-chairmanship of Pakistan's Minister of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, and Statistics, Syed Naveed Qamar, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Daniel Sullivan. The dialogue sought to deepen the U.S.-Pakistan economic partnership and further develop a long-term, broad-based relationship that mutually benefits Pakistanis and Americans.

The two sides discussed a wide-range of issues, including macroeconomic policy, labor, intellectual property rights, energy, agricultural cooperation, eliminating terrorism finance networks, and Reconstruction Opportunity Zones. Other topics included foreign assistance and development for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, regional cooperation and transit trade, private sector cooperation, a bilateral investment treaty and a government of Pakistan scholarship proposal.

The United States and Pakistan agreed on the importance of the Pakistani government's measures to stabilize the economy, to adhere to the announced macroeconomic policy and targets, and to continue Pakistan's structural reforms, including monetary and fiscal adjustments. A fruitful discussion was held on establishing Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, which will facilitate job creation and economic development in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, North West Frontier Province, the earthquake-affected areas of Azad, Jammu and Kashmir, and Balochistan within one-hundred miles of the Afghan border. The Reconstruction Opportunity Zones will provide greater market access to exports from businesses in these areas and create employment opportunities for the border regions.

Trade liberalization, protection of intellectual property, and labor issues, all aimed at fostering increased economic opportunities, were also discussed. Useful discussions were held concerning the issues that remain in concluding a Bilateral Investment Treaty, which would promote a more open, transparent, and predictable business climate. Ways to increase the opportunity for Pakistani students to study at U.S. universities, including through expanding scholarship opportunities, were considered and agreement reached to pursue the matter further.

Steps to better address matters related to eliminating terrorism financing and money laundering were also reviewed. And ways to support Pakistan's efforts to encourage development of the border areas were also considered.

Both delegations agreed to meet again in 2009 in the United States. The U.S. remains fully committed to building a strong relationship with Pakistan.