LAHORE - The newly-appointed US Counsel General in Lahore Yuriy R Fedkiw has stressed the need for promoting positive image of Pakistan in the world with the support of local business community, as the country is hampered just by image problem despite rising economy.

While talking to the members of the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) here at a dinner hosted in his honor, the US consul general said Pakistan’s economy has been picking up owing to the reforms and stabilisation measures. He said that higher foreign exchange reserves and softer inflation and oil prices are supporting the overall macroeconomic outlook of the country.

APBF National Board, led by its President Ibrahim Qureshi, hosted the reception. Economic and Political Chief Robert C Newsome also graced the occasion. “Most people have never been to Pakistan. It's a huge problem. When people visit Pakistan, they see it's actually opposite of what they expect,” the counsel general observed. There is a great potential for stronger economic and trade ties between United States and Pakistan and both countries can play vital role to further enhance bilateral trade in future, he added.

Yuriy Fedkiw, who is the 29th American diplomat to lead the US post in Lahore, said that the US govt is committed to help resolve 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. He said that American companies were productive and progressive members of Pakistan’s society and economy.  “The US has had diplomatic relations with Pakistan since its creation, and it again declares to invigorate ties with Pakistan to foster a deeper and comprehensive trade partnership, besides facilitating the concrete support in all fields ranging from energy to counterterrorism.”

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi welcomed Yuriy for his appointment in Lahore and wished him good luck. He shared the potential areas where US can support Pakistan. He said that US Consulate was playing commendable role in developing working relations with various segments of the society in general and business community in particular.

He urged the US Consulate to start the 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 processing visas.

Qureshi observed that Pakistan has taken steps over the years to liberalise its trade and investment regimes. Highlighting the economic potential of Pakistan’s young, growing population, and the nation’s increasingly large and sophisticated domestic consumer market, the APBF president offered recommendations to help create a better business environment for US partner companies in Pakistan by identifying and addressing barriers to investment and growth in the country. “The APBF is working hard in establishing the basic conditions necessary for robust commercial engagement between US businesses and Pakistan,” said Qureshi. “Our meeting aims to highlight Pakistan’s potential, as our member companies see it,” he said.