US welcomes Pak decision to extend MFN status to India

Washington: The US has welcomed Pakistan's decision to extend the most-favored nation status to India and commended its recent moves to expand its economic co-operation with neighbours.

"The United States welcomed the Government of Pakistan's plans to extend most-favored-nation status to India by the end of the year," the US State Department said in a statement at the conclusion of the US-Pakistan Economic and Finance Working Group meeting, which was Co-Chaired by the Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and the Pak Finance Minister, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

"The United States commended Pakistan's recent efforts to expand economic cooperation with its neighbors. Both sides discussed ways to improve trade and transit with Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, citing the importance of enhanced trade for the region's stability and prosperity," said the State Department at the conclusion of the working group meeting that focused on expanding bilateral economic engagement, particularly in the areas of trade and investment.

Both sides committed to broadening private sector ties between their two countries, the State Department said.

"Nides highlighted the US government's many initiatives in this area including a Pakistan investment conference in London hosted by the Office of the US Trade Representative in October, the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, and a series of conferences and virtual meetings devoted to training and mentoring Pakistan's entrepreneurs," it said.

In other meetings, senior State Department officials and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also highlighted the positive results of ongoing civilian assistance programs in Pakistan, including significant contributions in sectors critical to economic growth such as the addition of more than 400 MW of capacity to Pakistan's power grid and the construction of over 650 km of roads to date.

"Both sides agreed that Pakistan's prosperity is predicated on energy sector reform; the United States welcomed Pakistan's commitment to undertake the reforms needed to attract greater investment," the State Department said.