US: Afghan-Pakistan ROZs still on the agenda
The US government this week said it will work with the US Congress to enact legislation to create Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Plans to establish the zones, which would provide duty-free treatment for certain textile and apparel products imported into the US the two countries, were initially floated by former US President George W Bush back in 2006. The legislation has been approved by the US House of Representatives but is still pending approval by the US Senate.
However, at a meeting this week between senior officials from the US and Afghanistan, both sides agreed to work together on "measures that will promote private sector engagement between the two countries and create legitimate, productive enterprises for the Afghan people."
As part of that effort, the office of the US trade representative said, the "United States will work with the US Congress to enact Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) legislation."
Talks on the United States-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) also focused on issues including Afghanistan's transition to a sustainable economy, market access, the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), trade promotion efforts, intellectual property rights and sector-specific investment challenges.
Discussions also included the New Silk Road, which envisions an international network of economic and transit connections linking and integrating Afghanistan with its neighbours and regional and global economies.
The US delegation is also visiting the cities of Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif to visit industrial parks which house factories that produce items including clothes.
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