Pakistan should push for Better Market Access than to Foreign Aid – Zahid Maqbool

  • October 12, 2009
Though Kerry-Lugar Bill (KBL) is to provide a continuous annual foreign assistance of US$ 1.5 billion to Pakistan over the fiscal years 2010-2014, but Pakistan should also strive for preferential trade arrangements and better market access with USA, which would yield far reaching and sustainable economic gains to the country as compared to foreign aid.

This was observed by Zahid Maqbool, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) while presiding over a meeting of businessmen at ICCI. The businessmen said the US$7.5 billion financial aid of KBL will contribute for betterment of Pakistan’s economy; however, it should be on more soft terms to duly compensate Pakistan for the loss suffered due to fighting war on terror.

Zahid Maqbool said that USA and European Union had provided special incentives to some competitors of Pakistan including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka due to which these countries were achieving extraordinary growth in their exports. However, he lamented that despite playing the role of front line state against terrorism and militancy, Pakistan was being deprived of such preferential arrangements.

The businessmen opined that US had also provided favorable market access to many developing countries and specifically quoted the example of Vietnam which was greatly helped by US with special trade facility enabling it to enhance its exports to USA up to $ 13.584 billion in 2008.

ICCI President stressed upon the government to negotiate with USA and EU for enhanced market access and special trading arrangements for a dignified and sustainable economic growth. He said this would supplement the benefits of foreign aid enabling Pakistan to get industrialized, create jobs and reduce poverty.