USA Commercial Service to be shifted to Karachi : US Diplomat

KARACHI: Commercial Service Department of United States at its embassy in Islamabad will be shifted to Karachi in March 2017 to tap the city’s huge economic potential and strengthen the economic ties of USA and Pakistan.

This was announced by USA Counsel General in Karachi Ms.Grace Shelton during an interactive session on Pak-US relations in contest with new United States administration held at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry here, says FPCCI statement here on Wednesday.

This was organized by FPCCI Standing Committee on Diplomatic Affairs under the chairmanship of Dr. Mirza Ishtiaq Baig.

Consul General of USA in Karachi, Grace Shelton also attended.

At FPCCI side, the prominent were Chief Executive Officer of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and former President of FPCCI, S. M. Muneer, Zubair Tufail and Vice President FPCCI Hanif Gohar.

USA Consul General, Ms. Grace Shelton informed about her task which included promotion of close trade and investment relations between the two countries, people-to-people contact and area of U.S. interest like political stability and social resilience in Pakistan.

She disclosed that her Consulate was working in close coordination with the Ministry of Commerce, the Sindh Board of Investment, and the U.S. Pakistan Business Council to organize the Fifth Annual Business Opportunities Conference in 2017 in Pakistan.

She said as Karachi is the hub of economic and commercial activities, it has been decided that the commercial service department of USA embassy headed by Steven Knode would be shifted from Islamabad to Karachi in March 2017 with the mandate to boost commercial ties between both the countries.

While welcoming and explaining the brief activities of Pak-US business council to the Consul General of US, Vice President of FPCCI Hanif Gohar said USA is a good friend which played a significant role in socio-economic uplift of Pakistan.

USA is the largest trading partner in addition to providing economic and financial assistance to Pakistan. At present, the trade between Pakistan and USA is in favor of Pakistan with Pakistan’s export volume $ 3.5 billion to USA and import volume $ 1.7 billion, he stated.

Dr. Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Diplomatic Affairs said that beside trade, Pakistan is very much keen to strengthen the investment relationship with USA and in this context Pakistan offers various investment opportunities in the areas of power sector, high-tech machinery, infrastructure, engineering, telecommunication, iron and steel, railways, construction etc.

He said after Zarb-e-Azb and rangers operations and removal of load shedding Pakistan is ideal country for Investment.

S.M. Muneer, Chief Executive Officer of TDAP highlighted the issues related to visa and said that several businessmen wished to travel from Pakistan to USA every year for the purpose of meeting business partners, exploring markets, as trade delegates and to participate in exhibitions.

The delay in issuing visas hindered their travel schedules, and was the cause of unfortunate inconvenience.

He requested the US Consulate to expedite visas for businessmen recommended by FPCCI, which was the national trade body, and therefore could watch for the legitimacy of the recommended individuals.—APP