US Ambassador Donald Blome and Minister of State for Finance, Revenue, Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha on Wednesday formally launched a United States government-led initiative to enhance US-Pakistan bilateral trade. The United States has long been Pakistan’s largest export market, with potential for further growth, said a news release from the embassy of the US in Pakistan. According to the US Census Bureau, the United States imported nearly $5.3 billion in Pakistani goods in 2021, and US investments in Pakistan went up by 50 per cent in the past year. The Investment Promotion Activity (IPA), implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is a five-year project that will help strengthen Pakistan’s business environment, build the capacity of Pakistani institutions focused on investment promotion, attract foreign direct investment, and increase U.S.-Pakistan bilateral trade and investment. Overall, the project aimed to reduce barriers to investment and trade by improving Pakistan’s investment promotion capabilities. The project will also provide grants to firms registered in Pakistan that are interested in enhancing trade with the United States and have the potential to attract foreign direct investments. These grants will play a critical role in connecting Pakistani firms with investors in the United States and other countries. During the launch event, a Fireside Chat on US-Pakistan bilateral trade opportunities, Ambassador Blome remarked, “The United States has been a leading investor in Pakistan for the past 20 years, and US investment in Pakistan is the highest it has been in over a decade. Building on and expanding that strong foundation of economic cooperation, we are continuously seeking to increase bilateral trade, boost investment, and improve entrepreneurial and educational opportunities for Pakistanis. As a part of the US government’s long-term commitment to helping Pakistanis secure a more prosperous future, USAID is working closely with the Government of Pakistan to streamline its business practices, improve governance, promote regulatory reforms and competition to lower the cost of doing business and strengthening the investment climate for foreign investors in Pakistan. The newly launched imitative will promote opportunities for enhanced trade and investment between US and Pakistani businesses.