American companies interested in investing in Pakistan: US official

The Chief US diplomat for South Asian Affairs Alice Wells said Friday that the American energy firms and manufacturers are interested in the Pakistani market.

Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, said that Exxon-Mobil, Excelerate, Cargill and Honeywell are all pursuing major new investments.

The US diplomat said that online taxi service Uber is creating 80,000 jobs for Pakistani youth.

Briefing the media in Washington, Wells criticized China’s “One Belt One Road” projects and said that “projects under One Belt One Road often don’t adhere to international standards.”

“And the argument that I was making in Pakistan is that there are opportunities and should be opportunities for American investment, American energy firms, and manufacturers are interested in the Pakistani market,” the US diplomat said.

She, however, said that it was Pakistan’s “sovereign right” to decide what investment it seeks and on what terms.

“And a friend of Pakistan, we certainly urge that they take on investment projects that create wealth, generate employment, and are sustainable, and think we have great options for the Pakistani market,” she said.

Pakistan, however, made it clear that Chinese investment in Pakistan was not a “debt trap”.

In an interview with CNBC, PM Khan said: “Pakistan is grateful to China as they helped us in difficult times by making investments.”

The premier said that Chinese loans account for only 5% to 6% of Pakistan’s total loan portfolio.

Satisfied over Pakistan’s progress on FATF plan

The US diplomat said that it would be devastating for Pakistan’s economy and its ability to attract investors if Pakistan fails to meet the FATF obligations and be blacklisted. She, however, said that Pakistan was fulfilling FATF obligations.

“We’ve been pleased to see progress by Pakistan towards fulfilling FATF obligations,” she added.

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