ISLAMABAD, Oct 18 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Tuesday said the United States was one of the largest trading partners of Pakistan and it would be in the interest of both countries to enhance their trade volume which had been hovering around US $5 billion for the last five years.

He said Pakistan would like to further enhance that partnership and build closer economic ties with the US.

He was talking to Ambassador Michael Froman, US Trade Representative to Pakistan.

The Prime Minister thanked the ambassador for granting observer status to Pakistan on Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which would provide a great learning experience to it.

He said foreign companies were making handsome profits on their investments in Pakistan which indicated great opportunities and potential of the country.

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Preferential market access might be granted for Pakistani textile products which would greatly boost Pakistani exports to the US markets, he added.

β€œWe are executing mega energy and infrastructure projects across the country. Our energy situation has improved significantly and we will be able to overcome the energy shortage by the year 2018,” a press release quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that 8th round of TIFA Council meeting would be very fruitful and both countries would find new ways to increase bilateral trade.

He said Pakistan had made substantial progress to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and was removed from the Priority Watch List for IPR by the US government.

Ambassador Michael Froman said Pakistan had made tremendous progress on several fronts in the last three years.

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The security situation in the country improved considerably which was essential for investments and businesses, he added.

He said Pakistan’s GDP growth around 4.7 % was reflective of the economic turnaround achieved by sustained efforts of the government.

The meeting was also attended by Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurrum Dastgir, Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar and other senior officials.

The visiting delegation included David Hale, US Ambassador to Pakistan, Matthew Vogel, Deputy US Trade Representative, Ms Erin Frautschy Barrows, Ms Zeba Reyazuddin and Rob Garverick.

Appreciating the Prime Minister, Froman said low inflation, increasing foreign exchange reserves to a record high level and successful completion of IMF programmes all showed the prudent economic policies of the government.