KARACHI - US Consul General in Karachi Grace W Shelton has said that Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has a long history of relationships with United States, hence it has to play a role in strengthening trade relations between the two countries.

“I want to see deeper and stronger economic ties between United States and Pakistan”, she added while exchanging views at a meeting during her visit to KCCI on Tuesday. The US envoy assured that her team at US Consulate Karachi will continue to work with Pakistani and US Companies to attract investment and build lasting connections. “The more we work together, the more we can bring jobs both to United States and to Pakistan”, she added.

She further informed that the government of Pakistan was planning to hold “Business Opportunities Conference” in Karachi next year within the timeline of April or May 2017, which was staged last year in New York. Moreover, an agricultural trade delegation from Pakistan will also be sent to US to attend an expo in Atlanta from January 30 to February 2, 2017, with a theme of “Innovation in the Agriculture”, which will comprise of private sector, federal and provincial governments’ officials. She invited KCCI to participate in this expo in order to see the technological advancements in the agriculture business.

BMG Chairman Siraj Teli requested the US consul general to help out Karachi and Pakistan in convincing the US government about what Karachi is and what its people are. “This is something which I have been requesting to all the consul generals in Pakistan in order to deal with many misconceptions about the security situation of Karachi and Pakistan, as the negative perception terribly hampers trade and business activities”, Siraj said. “US business people prefer meeting their counterparts from Karachi outside Pakistan either in Dubai or in US due to the negative perception which requires serious attention,” he added.

Siraj pointed out that Karachi was bigger than 80 countries in terms of population and in terms of size, hence it was unfair to portray the entire city as unsafe in case anything goes wrong in any particular area of the city because even in such a situation, the rest of the city moves on normally.

Commenting on Pakistan-US ties, Siraj said that although good relations exist between the people and business communities of the two countries but Pakistan-US ties have seen many ups and downs.

Earlier, while welcoming the US consul general, KCCI President Shamim Ahmed Firpo said that the Karachi chamber was keen to strengthen trade ties and explore new bilateral trade prospects with the United States as they strongly believe in ‘Trade, not Aid’.

He mentioned that during FY2015-16, the country’s exports to the US were recorded at $3.72 billion as against exports of $3.96 billion in the corresponding period of last year, showing a decline of 6.18 percent. Whereas, the country’s import from US stood at around $1,480 million during FY16 as against imports of $1,197 million in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 23.64 percent. He said that by increasing trade and economic activities, both Pakistan and the US can enjoy mutually beneficial relations on a sustained basis.