KARACHI: US Consul General in Karachi Michael J Dodman has said that Generalised Sales Preference (GSP) scheme has currently been put on hold due to ongoing situation in Washington but it will resume soon.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the US diplomat said that United States is the largest trading and investment partner of Pakistan. He advised that various issues, which had already been identified by trade associations, need to be addressed with a view to make Pakistan, particularly Karachi city an attractive place for foreign investors.
“We are working closely with various trade associations including KCCI, Sindh Board of Investment and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to explore ways and means for attracting more investment in Pakistan”, he added.
Commenting on visa policy, Dodman said that they have a fully operational visa office in Karachi where business visas are being issued. Expressing apologies for delayed visa processing, Michael Dodman said that they have to follow US laws which were causing delays however, the overall situation was improving.
The US Consul General also congratulated the newly-elected office-bearers of KCCI and acknowledged the commendable role played by the outgoing office-bearers, particularly former president Haroon Agar in strengthening relations between the KCCI and US Consulate.
Chairman of Businessmen Group and Former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Siraj Kassam Teli, while speaking on the occasion, stressed the need to further enhance Pak-US trade ties. Teli said that Pak-US relations have witnessed many ups and downs from time to time since 9/11 and have progressed well but the pace of trade has been too slow and things are not moving the way they should be.
Teli pointed out that the existing exports of around $3.5 billion does not reflect the existing potential and relations between the two nations, which must be enhanced to at least $9 billion. The United States must consider the fact that Pakistan has been playing the role of a frontline state in the war against terrorism for the last 12 years but has not been compensated accordingly.
Vice Chairman BMG, Zubair Motiwala, while praising the United States’ move to undertake various development projects in Pakistan, suggested that the US must initiate programs focusing on job creation.
KCCI President A Abdullah Zaki said that Karachi Chamber has always had a very close and meaningful relationship with the US Consulate in Karachi. The KCCI president further pointed out that the KCCI has remained vibrant in strengthening trade ties and exploring new bilateral trade prospects with the US. In this regard, the KCCI emphasises upon the need to minimise trade barriers between the two countries, he added.
Besides Michael Dodman, the US Consulate team comprised of Anu Prattipati, Political & Economic Chief; Richard Bakewell, Economic Officer; Eduardo Garcia, Economic Officer, Ahsan Achakzai, Economic Specialist; Fahd Zaidi, Economic Specialist and Malik Attiq, US Commercial Services. Senior Vice President KCCI, Muffasar Atta Malik, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Former Presidents KCCI, A Q Khalil, Haroon Agar, Mian Abrar, Saeed Shafiq, Khalid Firoze, Abdul Majeed Haji Muhammad and other Managing Committee members also attended the meeting.