Diplomatic US Envoy calls on Finance Minister

Islamabad: US Ambassador Mr. Richard G. Oslan and Ambassador Robin Raphel, Senior Adviser to Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan called on Federal Minister for Finance, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh here Thursday.

Issues of mutual interest particularly economic ties between the two countries were discussed in the meeting. Both the sides expressed their satisfaction over the pace of development in Pak-US economic ties.

Mr. Richard G. Oslon and Ms. Robin Raphel congratulated the Finance Minister over his recent successful visit to United States of America and declared that Finance Minister’s recent visit to USA will prove a milestone in strengthening economic bonds between the two countries.

The Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh informed the US delegation that the overall economic conditions in the country are moving in the right direction.

The visiting delegation was informed by Dr. Abdul Hafeez that despite energy scarcity and security situation, Pakistan’s economy has started showing positive trends.

The Federal Minister informed the US side that due to the policies of the present government, Pakistan is witnessing lowest inflation rate in the region and trade balance deficit is on declining trend.

The US delegation was informed that Karachi Stock Exchange is the best performing stock exchange in the world during the last one year.

The US side assured the Finance Minister that Coalition Support Fund amounting to $ 600 million will be released without any delay.

The visiting delegation also informed the Finance Minister that the United States is going to launch 80 million dollar Pakistan Investment Fund for SMEs in January 2013.

During the meeting the US delegation informed the Finance Minister that active participation of Overseas Private Investment Corporation OPIC in development of Pakistan will be ensured. The active participation of OPIC will increase the support for projects in Pakistan from $ 100 million to $ 1 billion.

The visiting US delegation also reaffirmed US commitment for provision of $ 200 million for Diamer Bhasha Dam.

Both the sides discussed Pak-US bilateral trade also. The US delegation said that USA is trying to facilitate Pakistan’s exports to the United States to a maximum degree. It was further informed by the visiting delegation that US investment in Pakistan is witnessing ever increasing trend.

Mr. Richard Olson and Ms. Raphel committed that USA will extend its cooperation to optimum level for timely completion of development projects in Pakistan.

The visiting delegation informed that the US would assist Pakistan in every possible way to overcome energy crisis. The delegation further told that assistance to Pakistan for development of social sector and infrastructure will also be accelerated.