US not willing to sign FTA with Pakistan

November 18th, 2007 - 7:21 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 18 (ANI): The US is not willing to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan, and has set harsh conditions to conclude the much-awaited Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), said a senior government official.
“We have been informed that the US is not keen to sign the FTA with Pakistan. The US side believes that Pakistans socio-political fundamentals are not right for the FTA,” Board of Investment Secretary, Mushtaq Malik, said.
He said that the issue had been discussed threadbare at various levels but the Bush Administration did not seem to be willing to sign the treaty.
Malik said that Pakistan could not accept the conditions the US had set for the BIT.
“The kind of concessions they (Americans) are seeking cannot be given,” he said.
“If we grant these concessions to the US, we will have to offer the same to 48 other countries with whom Pakistan had signed this treaty,” the Dawn quoted Malik, as saying.
Malik, however, said the issue had not been abandoned and Pakistan was to officially respond to the US.
He said the issue was currently with the Attorney General and since he was too busy in other matters, a reply to the US was not likely in near future.
Since the BIT involved some legal issues, the Pakistan Government was consulting its legal experts, including the Attorney General.
Earlier, Pakistan had asked the US to make the BIT a part of the proposed FTA to remove differences between the two sides over the issue.
Sources said that the two governments had failed to resolve their differences over the BIT. (ANI)

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