ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and a key official from the US embassy are going to inaugurate a two-day “3rd Pak-US Business Opportunities’ Conference” today (Tuesday).
The conference is being organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and objective of the conference is to promote business-to-business interaction between two countries.
“Although the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has not fixed any targets with the conference, yet the Minister for Commerce will deliver speech to highlight MoC’s efforts to attract foreign investments as well as to accelerate the volume of trade with special focus on enhancing the volume of exports” a well source at MoC told this scribe here on Sunday.
The MoC had finalised all the arrangements for the conference which was part of events associated with ‘Pak-US Week’; however, later it was separated from the said week. The conference is also aimed to present Pakistan to the international community as a reliable business and investment destination.
The conference will cover areas like Textiles with focus on home textiles, agriculture with focus on finished food products, fruits, vegetables and rice, leather with focus on accessories, footwear, surgical instruments, information technology, energy and infrastructure.
The participants will also analyse the chances to materialise the proposal of the establishment of a” US-Pakistan Joint Business Forum”. Over 100 American companies and entrepreneurs have been invited to the conference and MoC expects maximum number of participants in the conference along with representatives from US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) and U.S companies with an interest in Pakistan so that they may be able to get more involved in shaping policy priorities and outcomes.
USPBC, affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, leads business private sector association of US companies with business and investment interests in Pakistan through policy recommendations, active engagement with US and Pakistani government officials, private sector organisations and think tanks, and particularly trade missions, the USPBC has worked to expand commercial opportunities and promote a level-playing field for American companies in Pakistan. USPBC is made up of senior-level executives of U.S companies from every business sector, major investors in Pakistan and are firmly committed to the Pakistani market.
The focus of both the Pakistani and American representatives in the conference is likely to be on energy sector in the country, because thrust of MoC, Board of Investment (BoI) and other concerned departments and ministries had been on the power and energy shortage.
In the previous US-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference held in Dubai, June 2013, Pakistan Private Investment Initiative was launched to mobilise at least $150 million in Private Equity Investment. The main goal of the conference was to help Pakistani and American companies and investors to identify new business opportunities together.
The participants attended speeches, panel discussions, and networking events to discuss a wide range of US-Pakistan business opportunities, including in agri-business, energy, and education, as well as opportunities in entrepreneurship, access to the US market, consumer goods and franchising opportunities, venture capital, information technology, and the new Government of Pakistan’s economic and investment policies.
Participants welcomed reports about American companies already successfully doing business in Pakistan. They heard about the many US government initiatives to expand US-Pakistan trade and investment. They learned how to utilise existing US government programs to overcome hurdles to doing business in Pakistan. Everyone expanded their network of business contacts and increased their awareness of potential business opportunities.