LAHORE - Consultant to Chief Minister Punjab on Economic Affairs and Vice-Chairman Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) Pir Saad Ahsanuddin met with representative of the US Department of State, Mark Palermo along with Dr Warren Weinstein, who called on him in his office. Ahsanuddin while welcoming the US 7.5 billion dollar aid package to be provided by the US government in 5 years to Pakistan, emphasised that the need to use Punjabs share of these funds optimally and to support the existing robust development programme of the Punjab government. He dwelled upon the importance of opening American markets for local textile industry and business-to-business contacts between both the countries. He asked the delegation to ensure more joint ventures between American and Pakistani companies in line with the Chief Ministers vision to boost job creation, technology transfer and economic activity. Ahsanuddin pointed out that Punjab, with over 90 million people, is larger than France, UK or Spain in terms of population and, on a purchasing power parity basis, is the 40th largest economy, larger than the economies of Bangladesh, Denmark and Portugal. At the same time the province has dynamic political leadership backed up with a strong administrative infrastructure. Together these factors provide a compelling investment and business opportunity for American businesses exploring international markets. Ahsanuddin also explained that while security concerns are a reality the higher risk factors are compensated through higher returns being offered to investors in Pakistan. Leading multinational companies have invested, and continue to invest, in Pakistan in nearly every sector for eg, Tetrapak, Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc Punjab plays host to more than 500 multinationals, he added.