LAHORE – The United States is planning to open its visa consulate in Lahore in near future and a proposal to this regard has already been forwarded to concerned authorities back in Washington and as soon as the embassy gets a response it would start working on it.
This was stated by US Consul General Michael Chang while talking to LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian at a meeting held at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Muzaffar Ali, Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha and US Visa Officer Antone Greubel also spoke on the occasion.
The US Consul General said that with the opening up of the visa consulate in Lahore, the businessmen belonging to Lahore would be able to save a much of their time which generally is consumed in travelling for visa purposes.
While agreeing with the LCCI President proposal, the US Consul General said that both the LCCI and US Embassy in Islamabad would appoint contact persons to expedite liaison between the Embassy and the LCCI.
Mr Michael Chang said that the technological advancements have turned the whole world into a global village that requires a frequent interaction among the businessmen of different regions and the United States was well aware of the fact.
The US Consul General said that Pakistan and the United States have excellent bilateral relations but the trade ties are far behind the desired levels which need to be tackled by both the sides on priority basis.
He said that Pakistan and the United States have a huge trade potential but it could not be materialized so far only because of lesser access to Pakistani businessmen to the US market as is being given to other regional countries.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian said that once the Pakistani businessmen are provided right access to the US market, the country would not be in need of any sort of aid as the trade is the best substitute to aid.
Mohammad Ali Mian said that Pakistani textiles and textile made-ups are the best in the world but are not getting right place in the US market for multiple reasons that must be taken care of.
While stressing the need for exchange of more and more trade delegations between Pakistan and the United States, the LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian said that this is the best available solution to increase the volume of two-way trade.
Mohammad Ali Mian said that United States is leading export market of Pakistani products accounting for about one quarter of total exports. He said that during 2007, Pakistan’s exports to USA were US$ 3.9 billion showing an increase of 5% over 2006. 90% of the exports comprised of textile & apparel products, whereas Pakistan’s imports from U.S. were around US$ 2 billion almost same as in 2006. He said that Civilian aircraft and associated equipment accounted for one quarter of the import value, electricity-generating machinery is another notable item imported from U.S. during 2007.
Courtesy: The Nation, 7/6/2008