Rebuilding ties ON

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the Independence Day, messages of felicitation poured
in from different countries. Such messages are usually formal, pre-drafted statements and do not go much beyond expressing good wishes for the nation celebrating its independence.
But in our view an encouraging and the most important message came from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who availed the opportunity to raise the possibility of reviving and rebuilding bilateral ties with Pakistan. In his message, the US Secretary of State also mentioned the enormous potential of expanding bilateral trade, which he said, could bring prosperity to both the countries. The same kind of heartening words were expressed by the US President Donald Trump during his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan who not only expressed the desire of further expanding bilateral trade with Pakistan but also abundantly praised the quality products being produced by the country. Indeed Pakistan has always given importance to its economic and military ties with Washington and repeatedly emphasized that Washington shuns the course of seeing Pakistan from the prism of security and the Afghan situation. In our view, the recent statements emanating from Washington are really encouraging and practical steps towards that end to realize the objective of enhanced economic and trade relations will definitely prove to be vital in addressing the mistrust and misunderstanding. Overall US-Pakistan trade in 2018 reached a record high of $6.6 billion, an increase of 4 per cent from the previous year and we are confident that the recent warmth in relations will further bolster the trade volume significantly. We must keep up the engagements with the US at different levels in order to attract maximum investment from there. In its report, the US State Department itself admits that Pakistan remains an attractive market for US companies due to favourable demographics, English language skills, low labour costs and natural resources. Major US investments are concentrated in fast-moving consumer goods, chemicals, energy, agriculture, out-sourcing, transportation and communications. It is up to us to remove any barriers in the way of US companies so that they could come in a big manner in Pakistan. We will rather suggest both the countries to formulate a mechanism and revive the strategic dialogue in order to develop an enduring and strong economic partnership.

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