LAHORE –  U.S. Consul General Lahore Yuriy Fedkiw and newly appointed Commercial Counselor Steve Knode met with business leaders from the American Business Forum (ABF), the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF), the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), as well as senior government officials at the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) and the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) on May 16-17 to promote growing U.S.-Pakistan business and commercial ties.

In meetings with the business community, they discussed the prevailing economic climate in Punjab, noting the many opportunities for further collaboration.  Mr Knode highlighted that “bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and the United States follow a historical pattern of trust and confidence.

The time is ripe to engage our companies even more.” The groups exchanged views regarding trade policies currently being implemented by both federal and provincial governments and highlighted business opportunities for U.S. companies in Punjab and beyond.

Commercial Counselor Knode also discussed key issues affecting trade such as promotion and investment, commercial diplomacy, security, taxation, intellectual property rights, and bilateral/multilateral trade agreements.  Knode also invited Pakistani firms interested in opening and expanding operations in the U.S. to learn more about the SelectUSA investment promotion initiative.

Commercial Counselor Knode, Consul General Fedkiw, and LCCI Acting President Amjad Ali Jawa inaugurated Pakistan’s first “Doing Business with America” desk at the Lahore Chamber.  The desk will provide in-depth business counseling and facilitation services to local companies interested in doing business with American counterparts and investing in the United States.  The United States is Pakistan’s largest trading partner with total bilateral trade of roughly USD 5.5 billion annually.  It is also the leading export market for Pakistani products.

Meanwhile, U.S. exports to Pakistan reached a record in 2016, surpassing $2 billion.  In their meetings, Consul General Fedkiw and Commercial Counselor Knode exchanged views regarding the Punjab government’s efforts to encourage and empower young entrepreneurs, particularly women, and the dynamics of the ICT sector in the province.  Mr. Knode recently took up his posting in Karachi, where he will oversee the work of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Pakistan.