NEW YORK – Prime Minister on Thursday said that Pakistan firmly believes that a strong trade and economic relationship is an essential pre-requisite for a stable, long term people to people relations.

While speaking at the luncheon co-hosted by the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) and the US Chamber of Commerce, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the United States has remained an important economic and trading partner of Pakistan.

However, the level of trade and investment between the two countries has not kept pace with global trends, he added.

“As a result of bold economic reforms, Pakistan has achieved significant improvement in all major economic indicators. Pakistan’s growth has increased and the budget deficit has been reduced,” he stated.

The premier while specifically addressing to the chief guests Mr. Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President, US Chamber and Dr. Mehmood Khan, Chairman, US-Pakistan Business Council, gave an overview of some of the key economic indicators in Pakistan:

Inflation is now well below 3% – the lowest in 47 years.

The State Bank of Pakistan in its Monetary Policy Decision announced in May 2016 decreased the discount rate to 5.75% – again lowest in last 4 decades.

Up-gradation of the Karachi Stock Exchange to Emerging Market Index by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) is an important development.

PM stated that Pakistan’s economy is back on an upward growth trajectory and FY 2015-16 saw growth of 4.71%, the highest in a decade.

“There has also been a successful revival and resumption of the strategic private sector participation program. The government has also successfully auctioned 3G and 4G spectrum licenses, opening vistas of communication and data transfer in the country.” He added.

He apprised the guests that Pakistan will shortly graduate from the IMF Programme. The successful completion of the IMF programme, the second time in our history, is a strong indicator of the health of Pakistan’s economy and the authenticity of reforms undertaken.

The Tax to GDP ratio has gone up to 12.5% which is up from 9% when the government took reins of the economy. There is potential for further growth which we are committed to tap, PM stated.

The Karachi Stock Exchange being one of the best performing Stock Markets in the world closed Financial Year at 37,783 points. It is now trading well over 40,500 points.

He mentioned Forbes that acknowledged that Pakistan has the potential to be a global turnaround story and ought to be a US strategic partner.

“Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs has included Pakistan in N-11 or Next 11 Group of economies expected to register rapid growth in the next decade.”

“Bloomberg ranked Pakistan 3rd amongst top ten Best Performing Markets in 2014; and 14th amongst top potential investment locations in 2016.”

“The well reputed international credit rating agencies, international financial institutions, and international economists have all appreciated the important strides we have made over the past three and a half years in turning around Pakistan’s economy. Both S&P and Moody’s have upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating from stable to positive. Fitch has also assigned a stable rating to Pakistan.” The premier added.