US Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed said on Monday that the United States is Pakistan’s largest single-country export market and one of Pakistan’s largest sources of foreign investment. Talking to businesspeople here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), he said, “We must capitalise on that potential, and nurture even greater and energetic economic ties.” LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir, Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Vice President Haris Ateeq, Regional Policy Lead, Europe, Central Asia, Pakistan Gaia Self and Political & Economic Section Chief of US Consulate General, Lahore Kathleen Gibilisco also spoke. The US Independence Day was also celebrated at the ceremony. Dilawar Syed said, “We already have a strong base as more than 80 US companies in Pakistan. There is a need to further improve the business environment here as there is a huge potential of Pakistani products.” He said that there is also a dire need to enhance dialogue at all forums. “We hope Pakistan will continue implementing reforms to make it more attractive for global investors. We are exploring concrete ways in which we can build on that relationship to benefit both of our countries. We must seize opportunity to boost commercial, economic ties,” he maintained. He said that Pakistan would have to make its supply chain more resilient. Considering the huge potential of Pakistan market and youth bulge, there is a vast scope for further enhancement of trade. He said that both the countries have decades-long history of economic partnership and their trade and investment cooperation was an ongoing, essential part of our bilateral relationship, the US representative added. He said that there was need to increase dialogue at all levels between the two countries, suggesting that the private sector of Pakistan should play a leading role to cement the mutual trade and economic ties and should establish most modern and hi-tech industries to get more share in the international trade. Dilawar Syed said that the US continued to encourage Pakistan to improve the business climate to make it easier for US businesses to invest, operate, and create jobs. The US companies could introduce new technologies and generate returns that translate into higher incomes for local workers and capital for additional investments. He said that various US companies were already operational in Pakistan and keen to develop their operations in collaboration with their Pakistani counterparts. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir wished the US guest Happy US Independence Day. “We feel honoured while celebrating with you, the Declaration of Independence ratified on this day in 1776 signed by John Hancock as the President of the Continental Congress. We always take pride when we see that our Pakistani nationals are playing active role in US society at almost all the forums.” He said that the potential areas where Pakistan and US could enter into joint ventures were agriculture technology, minerals & mining, pharmaceuticals, leather, light engineering, surgical instruments, processed food, financial services, retail sector, poultry and meat, etc. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the renewable energy was another important area for industrial cooperation. “We wish to start manufacturing of solar panels in Pakistan and it can be possible with the support of United States. He said that the government has presented a growth oriented Federal budget even in these difficult times when our economy was confronted with steep and multidimensional challenges. However, we have conveyed to the government that such steep increase in taxation target, mainly through indirect taxation would overburden the existing taxpayers if the new taxpayers are not added to share the burden. Regarding the import ban, Mian Nauman Kabir said that it would enable the government to deal the trade deficit temporarily but in the long run, Pakistan needs a concrete strategy of import substitution and export enhancement. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that the visit of US Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed to Pakistan was of key importance as it will be helpful in promoting bilateral investment and would also strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and US. LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq also hoped that this visit would improve the business-to-business interaction between the two countries. There is a need to hold business conferences in the United States and Pakistan where the entrepreneurs from both the countries could work on joint projects. It is a good development that in the last two years Pakistan’s exports to the United States have seen an increase, specifically in textile sector, he added.