KARACHI: Commercial Chief of US Department of Commerce Nathan Seifert, while referring to the recent meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan, said that bilateral trade topic was revisited again during the third visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister to US which is very important for both the leaders.
“It’s so nice to see Heads of the two states sitting down, having nice conversation and talking about what can be done together which is actually very important for the business people of both countries. Hence, US business people see that there are going to be opportunities here in Pakistan. United States is trying to normalize trade relationship and we are making good progress in increasing trade”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, Acting President KCCI Arshad Islam, Vice President KCCI Shahid Ismail, Chairman Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki, Former President KCCI Haroon Agar, Senior Commercial Assistant at US Consulate in Karachi Tashfeen Mehdi and Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
US Commercial Chief, while highlighting the purpose of his visit to KCCI, said, “The main idea is to increase trade between the US and Pakistan. We are very pleased to see Pakistan’s improvement in Ease of Doing Business and the good environment here that would certainly encourage people from US to come here and at times, investigate business opportunities in Pakistan. Trade is something which we want to do and it’s something we are working on but in the meantime, there are a lot of challenges that we have to overcome.”
“There has been a great progress in Ease of doing business but there can be even more, we know that’s possible”, he added.
He was of the opinion that Pakistan has been exporting good quality products to US and the trade between the two countries continues to grow year by year. “We also facilitate Pakistani products being exported to US but our main focus from our offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad is to bring US companies here and help them find the right partners that can be distribution partners or joint venture partners”, said Nathan Seifert, “We also take delegations from Pakistan to participate in US trade shows and to some regional trade shows as well which is really important for us. About 10 times each year, we take delegations from here to numerous trade shows in the United States. In this regard, a delegation from Pakistan will be participating in International Poultry and Processing Exposition in Atlanta at the end of this month while applications were currently being reviewed for another Pakistani delegation’s participation in the World of Concrete 2020 event which will start at the beginning of February 2020 in Las Vegas. Pakistani delegates attending these events will be introduced by the representatives from Department of Commerce and we will also be providing space for B2B meetings.”
Moreover, large Pakistani companies interested in expanding their businesses will also be taken to US for participation in SelectUSA in June 2020 so that they could have some sort of footprint in the US by investing in an office or a facility or may be a factory, US Commercial Chief said, adding that this particular delegation will be led by himself for participation in SelectUSA in Washington D.C.
Earlier, Acting President KCCI Arshad Islam, while welcoming the Commercial Chief, stated that USA is the largest export partner of Pakistan and imports from the US has also been on the rise. Pakistan’s exports to USA were recorded at $3.89 billion in 2018 as against exports of $3.76 billion in 2017, showing a growth of 3.5 percent while imports from USA stood at $2.85 billion during 2018 as against imports of $ 2.81 billion in 2017, reflecting increase of 1.43 percent.
He mentioned that KCCI has remained vibrant in promoting bilateral trade ties and exploring new trade prospects with USA. In this regard, KCCI has taken trade delegations to USA several times, first in August 2007 and then in May 2012 and May 2016. During these visits, leaders of KCCI maintained the stance that “We want Trade not Aid” and emphasized upon the need to minimize trade barriers between the two countries.
KCCI has stressed on concluding a Pak-USA trade agreement while shifting focus from aid to trade development, technology transfers and increase in investments. KCCI believes that only by increasing trade and economic activities can both USA and Pakistan enjoy mutually beneficial relations on a sustained basis, he added.