The US Consul General in Lahore Zachary V. Harkenrider, while addressing a meeting at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday, said that the major part of the US assistance to Pakistan is focusing on resolving energy crisis which has crippled the economy of the country. He said that the US government is committed to help solve the economic challenges being faced by Pakistan.

He said that it is a happy sign that the private sector in Pakistan is doing well despite a number of challenges.

On this occasion, Vice President SARCC Chamber and former FPCCI president Iftikhar Ali Malik urged the USA Consulate to start visa processing facility at US Consulate Lahore Office as Lahore based business community has to go to Islamabad for obtaining visa from US Embassy while US Consulate Karachi is also processing visas.

He said that US has been a very important trading partner of Pakistan for decades. Among the top exporting and importing countries, the US comes at 1st and 8th places respectively. He said that Pakistan exported to the tune of $3.75 billion and imported US goods worth $1.67 billion in 2013.

Iftikhar Malik said that said that USA Consulate was playing a commendable role in developing working relations with various segments of the society in general and business community in particular. He said that there are a very few countries against whom Pakistan experiences favourable balance of trade. USA tops this list with a total worth of $2.1 billion.

Iftikahr Malik said that considering the role, Pakistan has been playing for the US in various fields; Pakistani business community expects to have greater access to the US market. He said that Business to Business contacts hold the key to exploit the untapped potential of trade. For that matter, frequent exchange of trade delegations was very important.

He said that last year, a trade delegation from Lahore Chamber visited the US and held successful meetings with their American counterparts. He said that visits of delegations from US to Pakistan on reciprocal basis could play an important role to increase the mutual trade.

Vice President FPCCI Hameed Chadda said that Pakistan is currently facing challenges in retaining FDI as well as attracting new investors. He urged the US Consulate can play a positive role to promote investment in Pakistan.