The Pakistan government is looking to explore economic avenues to re-engage with the new US administration under President Joe Biden, with a possibility of exploring investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The government has formed an apex committee to work on finding avenues of economic ventures to put forward to the new Biden administration.

The committee comprises a 14-member ministerial team, which will meet next week to contemplate on different ranges and domains of economic and commercial proposals, aimed at re-aligning relations with the US.

However, matters related to national security and defence cooperation are not to be tabled during the committee’s meeting.

As per the agenda, the Imran Khan-led government aims to revive economic ties with Washington.

This comes at the backdrop of slow progress on the CPEC during the tenure of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the Chairman of the apex committee.

“The government wants to re-engage the Joe Biden administration in areas of trade, investment, energy and economic cooperation, which had also remained the common grounds for discussion during former President Barak Obama’s term,” said a government official.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan is also seeking the US’ support to options of availing financial lines with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund open.

The US administration came in Pakistan’s support to bail it out by the IMF the last time, using its influence to waive core conditions of the programme.

However, Pakistan’s step to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 has put bilateral economic relations on the back burner.

Experts say that Pakistan’s snail progress on the CPEC projects in the past two and a half years has irked China, which has not given a date for the 10th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting, something that Islamabad has been trying to secure for the past six months.

Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BOI) has proposed that it can offer certain areas of cooperation to the US through CPEC, adding that “we need to be cognizant of the sensitivities of both the US and China”.

Other avenue that is being explored is the formation of an American-Pakistan Economic Zone to be set up near the Karachi port to allow re-processing at concessional rates.

Pakistan also intends to remind US administration of its promises made during the Bush administration, of a proposed legislation on Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, an initiative promised by the Bush administration in return to Islamabad’s support to the US war in Afghanistan.

The US remains Pakistan’s largest market for exports. and with the CPEC progress slowing down, Islamabad wants to re-engage with the new US administration and find new avenues of economic cooperation.

–IANS

hamza/ksk/