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US puts creation of ROZs in Pakistan on back burner

23
May '12
The setting up of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Pakistan, aimed at providing duty-free treatment in the US for certain goods from these zones, seems to have been put on back burner by the Obama administration.

The idea of establishing ROZs was developed to facilitate employment generation in border areas, especially Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), in Pakistan, where people do not have ample opportunities for employment.

Since textile exports constitute over 70 percent of all Pakistani exports, it was expected that the creation of ROZs would also benefit the country's textile industry and it would further boost its exports.

Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, former President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI), spoke to fibre2fashion on the subject.

“America proposed to develop a ROZ in Pakistan about 10 years back. It was aimed creating job opportunities for people in the designated area and the products manufactured there were to get duty-free access to the US,” Senator Ghulam Ali said.

“Later on, the US extended the ROZ concept to first include Afghanistan, and then gradually it was expanded to include the entire Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. Subsequently, a lot of meetings were held in this regard and at that time I was the President of FPCCI, but, no practical step was taken towards implementation of ROZ. The project was a dream and it is still a dream,” he says.

However, today, the concept of ROZ has lost its significance completely. “We have practically received no feedback from the US administration and we have lost hope of ROZs becoming a reality,” says a disappointed Mr. Ali.

“Creation of ROZs was important for Pakistan as the products manufactured there were supposed to be meant for the US, which is a very big export market for Pakistani textiles. We wonder why the issue was made so big and then left unattended as if it was not important at all,” he quips.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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