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US firms keen to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector

American companies have shown interest in investing in the energy sector of Pakistan, considering its great potential in the power, oil and gas sectors.

This was stated by Miles Young, chairman of the US-Pakistan Business Council (UPBC), at the meeting with members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday.

The head of the visiting delegation said that US companies, including GE, Shell and other companies have already initiated their projects in Pakistan.

The business council expressed concern over the ongoing energy crisis in Pakistan and expressed its keenness to resolve it, he said, adding that UPBC represents major multinational companies of the United States in Pakistan and the delegation is on a fact-finding mission, seeking joint ventures and bilateral trade promotion during the visit.

Young said that the lowest volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the US to Pakistan during the recent years was not due to any particular reason but it was due to economic meltdown across the world that also affected the US.

He said that it was a misconception that the United States had stopped FDI to Pakistan in recent times and should not be taken negatively. He said that the biggest challenge for the council was to present Pakistan positively among the US investors as foreign media was negatively presenting Pakistan.

Young said that the business council is working independently and has no links with the US government. He suggested having dialogue between the two forums on political and economic issues. By and large, it was a responsibility of the business community of the two countries to promote bilateral trade, he said.

He said that he is very much ambitious to boost trade and investment between the two sides. “We want to do business with Pakistan because it is a country of future,” Young said, adding that despite the fact that security is the main concern, the US investors and the energy crisis is another issue here but the UPBC was committed to Pakistan.

Executive Director, UBBC, Esperanza Gomez, said that Pakistani exporters should avail the GSP facility offered by the US government and the UPBC was ready to assist Pakistani exporters in utilising this facility of preferential tariff on many items.

She also said that UPBC could also help Pakistani investors to have joint venture with their US counterparts.

In his address of welcome, FPCCI acting president Shaheen Ilyas Sarwana said that the US is a major trade and investment partner of Pakistan, yet the volume of trade between the two friendly countries does not match the potential of trade.

He said that Pakistan needs trade and not aid. Sarwana appreciated the support and assistance of US AID in various projects initiated in Pakistan. He mentioned that Pakistan has remained in the forefront of war against terror, which badly hurt its economy particularly the foreign investments. He also objected on the traveling advise for the foreigners given by the US and European Union though unnecessarily sometimes. He also criticized the foreign media’s role in portraying negative image of Pakistan. He urged the US government to come forward to play an instrumental role taking out Pakistan from the crises. He pointed out that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is $4.728 billion as compared to $5.221 billion last year. Pakistan’s export to USA is $3.938 billion comparing to $4.102 billion last year.

President Pakistan US Business Council (PUBC) Iftikhar Ali Malik has proposed to the visiting delegation to become instrumental in setting up joint ventures in various sectors especially in textiles as big potential exists in textiles. He further said that energy sector is another big potential area of investment for the US entrepreneurs guaranteeing big returns on their investments.

President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar urged to formalize institutional relationship between KCCI and the council on the pattern of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber and ICC-Pakistan-KCCI World Chambers Federation Commission. He voiced that U.S. civil assistance to Pakistan should transform to trade and market access. “We expect US to help Pakistan to address the economic challenges, energy crises, more investment, technology transfer, education and training, scientific research and infrastructural development,” Agar said.

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