Consul general highlights Pak-US trade potential
KARACHI: US Consul General in Karachi Brian Heath has said although the current trade volume between United States and Pakistan was above $5 billion, and that Pakistan enjoys trade surplus, but this trade volume was not a lot and there was plenty of room for growth.
“This is the reason why most of our assistance is focused on helping Pakistan’s economy grow,” he added while exchanging views during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
“We (the United States) talk about stronger democracy in Pakistan, we talk about stronger security environment and we talk about stronger economy as these three things are very much in the interest of business community and the future generations of Pakistan,” Brian Heath said.
The US consul general was of the opinion that Pakistan has an important role to play not only for its own population but also for the entire region. “A stable South Asia is critical to world’s peace and world’s economy. We can’t have a stable South Asia without a stable Pakistan,” he added, keeping in view the geographical location of Pakistan.
He further commented that Pakistan and United States have been enjoying long-lasting relations from the very beginning, which were based on mutual trust and shared interest. “Although these relations have seen many ups and downs, but currently the Pak-US ties have improved and were becoming stronger,” he added.
KCCI President Younus Muhammad Bashir said that Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to the US investors.
He was of the opinion that the law and order in Karachi has substantially improved, thanks to the untiring efforts made by the law enforcement agencies in effectively dealing with insecurity and restoring peace in Karachi to a certain extent.
The KCCI president said that that the chamber was keen to strengthen trade ties and explore new bilateral trade prospects with United States, as they strongly believe in ‘Trade, not Aid’. “Pakistan’s improved relations and enhanced trade with countries like US would surely help in dealing with the ongoing economic crisis and ensure prosperity for our country,” he opined.
Commenting on Pakistan-US relations, he noted that Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally of USA and an integral part of the global war against terrorism. United States has been providing military and non-military aid to Pakistan since long, however, trade relations between the two countries have remained limited, he added.
Referring to State Bank of Pakistan’s report, the KCCI president mentioned that during the Fiscal Year 2014-15, Pakistan’s exports to US were recorded at $3,959 million as against exports of $3,951 million in the previous fiscal year, showing a rise of 0.17%. Moreover, Pakistan’s import from US stood at $1,197 million during FY15 as against imports of $1,125 million in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of 6.35%.
Only by increasing trade and economic activities, both USA and Pakistan, can enjoy mutually beneficial relations on a sustained basis, Younus Bashir opined, adding that being a trading partner and a close ally of US, Pakistan can explore ways to enhance its bilateral trade with USA, and realise the full potential of US GSP.