LAHORE      -     Pakistani innovative and young entrepreneurs should avail ATX-Pak Advance Programme to make their way into US markets in collaboration with their counterparts from Austin, Texas, USA.  These views were expressed by the founder of ATX-Pak Business Development Program Alica Dean while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Former Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, Executive Committee Members Haji Asif Saher, Haris Attique, Aqib Asif, Fiaz Haider, Uzma Shahid, Convener LCCI Standing Committee on Fashion and Clothing Talat Hafeez and Diplomats from US Consulate in Lahore also spoke on the occasion. Alica Dean said that second phase of ATX-Pak Advance Program was US funded initiative which would connect entrepreneurs, investors, influencers and educators form Austin with their counterparts in Pakistan. She told that the startup community of Austin would be involved in this program to develop this city as a major market place for the onward dispatch of fashion garments to other American state because of its centrally located position.

"In this connection certain incentives and facilitation will be offered to the Pakistani entrepreneurs," she said, adding, that Pakistani entrepreneurs have an opportunity to work with commercial partners in Austin and benefit from a unique retail experience. She said that Austin has a growing textile and fashion industry was emerging as E-Commerce based fashion Hub in the region. She said that an International Design Center would be constructed very soon in Texas to showcase the designs from all over the world under one roof. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh hailed the ATX-PAK advance program to City of Austin and hoped that it would help Pakistani entrepreneurs to explore American markets. He said that Pakistan and USA have good diplomatic, cultural and economic relations. Pakistan and USA were steady trading partners and USA come at 1st and 4th places respectively among the top exporting and importing countries for Pakistan around the globe. “Almost 16% of our exports in 2018, made their way to US market”, he said, adding, it was encouraging to see that over the time, the size of bilateral trade was increasing. In 2018, the value of total trade between Pakistan and US was 6.75 billion dollars and added that it has the potential to get doubled through favorable policy initiatives. He highlighted the tremendous opportunities for US companies to enter into joint ventures with Pakistan counterparts 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 emerging E-Commerce sector in Pakistan”, he said. He also highlighted that other potential areas where Pakistan and US could enhance trade by entering into joint ventures are pharmaceuticals, leather, light engineering, surgical instruments, processed food, financial services, retail sector, agriculture technology, poultry and meat.

Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad mentioned that Pakistan has recently improved by 28 notches in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking which indicates a noticeable improvement in the business climate and hoped that this development would encourage US investors to turn towards Pakistan.