US to set up industrial zones in Pak tribal region

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Islamabad, Oct 9: The United States has agreed to Pakistan's demand to set up Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (RoZs) in the NWFP and Balochistan provinces, officials said.

The ROZ's would be established on the pattern of Quality Industrial Zones (QIZs) established between Israel and Jordan.

Under the agreement all products manufactured in the RoZs will be exported to the US markets with zero duty.

The official said the project was aimed at developing the tribal areas, infested with radicals and al-Qaeda operatives, and providing job opportunities to residents to wean them away from subversive activites, The News reported.

Initially the Zones would be established in more ''settled'' areas as against Islamabad's demand of setting them up in areas bordering Afghanistan and tribal areas and also in the earthquake affected areas.

However, the proposal was put on hold due to lack of required infrastructure in the tribal belt and earthquake affected areas.

According to the official, the US authorities have indicated that the Bill on RoZs will be tabled in US Congress this month.

US President George W Bush had proposed setting up of RoZs during his visit to Pakistan in March 2006.


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