LAHORE     -     US Consul General in Lahore Ms Catherine Rodriguez has pledged to support Pakistani businessmen’s endeavors for enhancing exports to the United States. She was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Senior Vice President of SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik, former LCCI Presidents Bashir A Bakhsh and Sohail Lashari spoke on the occasion.

Former Vice President Faisal Iqbal Sheikh, Executive Committee Members Haji Asif Saher, Zeeshan Sohail Malik, Haris Attique, Aqib Asif, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal, Ch Nusrat Tahir, M Khalid, Fiaz Haider, Amir Anwar and Rana Arshad were present on the occasion. “Business is very near to my heart as I belong to a business family”, the US Consul General said and added that US Consulate would extend every possible help for visa to Pakistani businessmen.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh suggested establishment of an Export Processing Zone under the umbrella of the LCCI and US Consulate in Lahore to give a quantum jump to Pakistan’s exports to United States. He also sought the support of US Consul General for establishment of a state-of-the-art Certification Laboratory in Lahore for food, textile, rice, leather and other industries. He informed the US Consul General that a delegation of LCCI from IT and Textile value added industries would visit United States very soon.

The delegation would meet retailers and IT related people to promote cooperation in these particular sectors. He expressed hope that Pakistan would get rid of economic issues by June 2020 under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan who is doing tireless efforts for economic revival of the country.

Ali Hussam Asghar said that the Chamber would focus on exports during the ongoing year and US support in this regard was of utmost importance. He said that there were tremendous opportunities for US companies to enter into joint ventures with Pakistani companies and incorporate cutting-edge US technologies into energy projects throughout Pakistan, particularly in renewable energy. “There is also a tremendous opportunity for US companies to invest in the blossoming E-Commerce Sector in Pakistan”, he said. He also emphasized the need of direct market access for Pakistani exporters in United States. He said that textile was the largest export sector to US. “We have the potential to double or triple our export of this sector immediately by just giving direct access to US retailers and by encouraging value addition”, he said.

He added that other potential areas where Pakistan and US could enhance trade by entering into Joint ventures were pharmaceuticals, leather, light engineering like surgical Instruments, processed food, financial  services, retail sector, agriculture technology, poultry and meat. Iftikhar Ali Malik called for establishment of export houses for ease in trade between the two countries.