Pakistan and the United States held on expanding bilateral economic engagement, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, the State Department said.
Pakistan's Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides co-chaired the U.S.-Pakistan Economic and Finance Working Group, pledging to strengthen the bilateral cooperation. Nides, in a statement late on Friday, described the U.S.-Pakistan cooperation as "not only about helping each other in national security, but also in economic growth." "We are going to continue with the idea of 'trade not aid' that we have been working on for the last two years as our theme for these talks is about the economic growth of the people of Pakistan," Nides said.
Remarking on the longstanding bilateral trade and investment links, Hafeez Shaikh said the economic ties are very important to the relationship.
He said Nides played a major part in re-energizing the partnership.
"We are looking forward to deepening our economic relationship as the areas we want to focus on are trade and investment, better utilization of external assistance, and we are trying to bring our businesses together to put this relationship on really strong foundations," the finance minister noted.
Both Washington and Kabul view Pakistan's role as vital to the conclusion of the conflict and success of the Afghan reconciliation bid. The U.S., on the other hand, has been a major trading partner and investor in Pakistan.
Acknowledging substantive progress in ties, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said this week in Islamabad that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship had been fully restored.
After Friday's meeting, the State Department said both sides committed to broadening private sector ties between their two countries.