The Government of Pakistan has formed an apex committee to work on finding and developing avenues to re-engage the United States in an economic relationship.
This includes a possibility of seeking investment under CPEC.
According to local media, the 14-member ministerial apex committee led by the Foreign Minister will meet this week at the Foreign Office to discuss a range of economic and commercial proposals to warm ties with the Biden administration. The committee hopes to restore relations between the two countries.
The other members of this apex committee include ministers for finance, national food security, economic affairs, information technology, national security adviser. Additionally, PM’s aides on commerce, climate change, human resource development, power, and investment are also part of the committee.
The report suggests that the incumbent government wants to revive economic relations with the Western power following the slowed progress on the CPEC for the past two and a half years.
Since Pakistan decided to be a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, US-Pakistan relations have been on the back-burner from both sides. Additionally, during the Trump administration, the US did not have a permanent ambassador to Pakistan, and the official-level engagement has been on the assistant secretary of state level.
However, for over the past three years, CPEC has been really slowed down. The government has been unable to secure a meeting for the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee from the Chinese side. This has been going on for the past six months as the committee has been unable to show any tangible progress on CPEC projects.
It has been proposed by the Board of Investment (BOI) that Pakistan include the US in certain areas of CPEC while remaining aware of the sensitivities of both sides. BOI said that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can be attracted from US technology firms.
However, it remains to be seen if China agrees to such proposals by Pakistan’s side.
Additionally, the ministries of commerce, information technology, and energy have proposed forming an American-Pakistan Economic Zone near Karachi port to allow reprocessing at concessional rates, thus enhancing structured engagement through TIFA Ministerial Council and Business Opportunities Conference.
They also suggested the early finalization of proposed legislation on Reconstruction Opportunity Zones promised by the Bush regime in return for Pakistan’s support to US war in Afghanistan. Additionally, access to the US markets for IT-related exports and investment of the US IT firms in the IT sector of Pakistan.
Finally, they suggested importing LNG from the US, among other suggestions.
The committee was said to have started a discussion on these issues by today.