At Development Forum, Pakistan Eyes No Debt Cancellation

Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh said the country will not request donors to cancel or reschedule its foreign debt during the forthcoming Pakistan Development Forum.

“Any call from Pakistan for debt write-offs, debt swap or debt rescheduling would give a bad signal to the international community, especially investors, and it could hurt their confidence in Pakistan’s economy. This kind of request could give an impression that the country is not able to service its debt. The country’s foreign debt-to-GDP ratio is within manageable limits,” the minister said in a Nov. 11 media briefing.

He also assured donors that the government has put in place measures for the transparent use of aid, even allowing donors to monitor projects they finance, Pakistani paper Daily Times reports.

The Pakistan Development Forum will take place Nov. 14-15 in Islamabad.

Meantime, the European Union has approved a set of trade concessions for Pakistan in a bid to help the Islamic nation recover from the massive flooding in July, diplomats said Thursday (Nov. 11).

The package covers 75 Pakistani products for export including cotton sheets, clothing and ethanol. These products can enter the EU duty-free starting 2011, said John Clancy, trade spokesman for the European Commission.

The duty waiver still needs the approval of the World Trade Organization and the European Parliament, Reuters notes.  

The trade concessions include tariff suspensions for two years, with the third year subject to an assessment. The package also covers duty-free quotas on sensitive products such as some fabrics, towels, women’s jeans and socks.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.