Lahore, September 18 – US Consul General Lahore, Zachary Harkenrider has said that USA is well aware of the energy crisis being witnessed by Pakistan and ready to provide every possible assistant in this regard.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir and former LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh also spoke on the occasion.

US diplomat said that most of the US assistance to Pakistan is focused on energy that is a must for economic growth of the country.

US Consul General said that there is a great scope for stronger trade and economic ties between the two countries and private sector can play an important role in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz 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.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz 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.

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

The LCCI President said that there are very few countries against whom Pakistan experiences favorable balance of trade. USA tops this list with a total worth of US$ 2.1 billion.

He said that considering the role, Pakistan has been playing for USA in various fields; Pakistan business community expect to have greater access to US market.

Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that Business to Business contacts hold 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 US and the delegates had successful meetings with their American counterparts. He said that visits of delegations from US to Pakistan on reciprocal basis could play important role to increase the mutual trade.

The LCCI President said that Pakistan is currently facing challenges in retaining FDI as well as attracting new investors to focus Pakistan for investments. He urged the US Consulate to play a positive role to promote investment in Pakistan.

He said that the role of USAID in Pakistan is appreciable and it can also be taken as a model by the US based investors.

Transfer of technology is another way to improve the current situation. The interaction of Chambers of Commerce & Industry of the two countries can be instrumental in this connection.

At the end, two documentaries were shown to the participants.