WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD – Yesterday, Pakistan Federal Minister of Finance Ishaq Dar met with Deputy Secretary William J. Burns and Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Catherine Novelli to discuss a range of strategic and economic issues in Washington D,C.
Pakistani Minister Dar and Under Secretary Novelli convened the Economic and Finance Working Group of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue to discuss Pakistan’s economic reform efforts, look at ways to increase bilateral trade and investment, and identify specific steps where innovation and technology could improve cooperation and Pakistan’s competitiveness in the global economy. The U.S. delegation included senior representatives from the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Treasury, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
The two delegations discussed Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to bolster macroeconomic stability and growth. Pakistan highlighted its intention to continue working closely with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to maintain progress on the reform agenda. Minister Dar discussed Pakistan’s energy reforms, which would encourage increased U.S. investment in renewable energy. Under Secretary Novelli highlighted U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) support for the expansion of clean and renewable energy in Pakistan, and recent progress on several wind farms that will be financed by OPIC. Both sides agreed to convene the next Energy Working Group in Pakistan in early 2015 in order to align our policy, assistance, and private sector engagement to support Pakistan’s energy reform efforts and power generation capacity. On Wednesday, in an event organized by USAID and the US-Pakistan Business Council, Minister Dar and Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif highlighted potential business opportunities with the Diamer Basha hydroelectric dam to U.S. companies and investors. The meeting complements other U.S.-Pakistan energy cooperation efforts that will have added 1400 megawatts to Pakistan’s grid by the end of this year, benefiting nearly 16 million Pakistanis.
Both sides noted progress on implementing Prime Minster Sharif and President Obama’s pledge to expand bilateral trade and investment over the next five years. Pakistan will host the next U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference in Islamabad in early 2015, and both countries will look at ways to increase opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Both sides recognized recent cooperation which allowed Pakistani mangos to enter the U.S. market, as well as progress on Pakistan accepting live cattle imports. An information and communications technology trade delegation of Pakistani businesses, led by U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson and Pakistan’s Board of Investment Chairman Miftah Ismail, will travel to California next week.