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USAID, US Pakistani entities sign MoUs to promote technology, digital investment

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USAID, US Pakistani entities sign MoUs to promote technology, digital investment

 The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Wednesday signed four partnership memoranda of understandings with U.S.-Pakistani diaspora entities to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan.

The USAID signed MoUs with the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, Silicon Valley to promote technology and digital investments in Pakistan and support Pakistani startups; SARCMedIQ to improve the health digital ecosystem in Pakistan.

It also signed the Understandings with The Crescent Charity Foundation to support physical infrastructure in flood-affected areas of Pakistan; and PakFoods to improve humanitarian and social development outcomes for Pakistan.

The MoUs were signed at a U.S.-Pakistani diaspora conference here where the United States Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Andrew Schofer highlighted the valuable contributions of the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora, which is a key partner in the humanitarian, social, and commercial sectors in Pakistan.

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Deputy Chief of Mission Schofer highlighted the longstanding U.S.-Pakistan partnership to advance Pakistan’s economic growth and emphasized continued opportunities for future partnership. “As the Green Revolution improved lives in the past, a ‘Green Alliance’ between the United States and Pakistan will help us jointly strengthen climate resilience, develop clean energy alternatives, and foster economic growth,” he said.

At the conference, which was sponsored by the U.S. Mission in Pakistan in close coordination with the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora entity Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America, Silicon Valley fundamental challenges and opportunities in the technology sector of Pakistan were discussed and deliberated.

More than 300 participants attended in-person, including members of the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora, prominent local business leaders, and Pakistani officials, including Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, and Zeeshaan Shah, the Prime Minister’s Ambassador at Large for Investments.

USAID Mission Director Reed Aeschliman said, “The conference was an opportunity to highlight some of the contributions and investments already made by the Pakistani diaspora, facilitate collaborations between Pakistani diaspora entities, and develop a road map for collective action to address the current economic, humanitarian and social challenges in Pakistan.”

The United States remains firmly committed to engaging and partnering with the U.S.-Pakistani diaspora to address Pakistan’s challenges in the technology, humanitarian, social and commercial sectors and to further Pakistan’s development goals.

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Bilateral trade with Turkiye surpasses $ 1b in 11 months: FPCCI

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Bilateral trade with Turkiye surpasses $ 1b in 11 months: FPCCI

President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Irfan Iqbal Sheikh Thursday said that Pak-Turkiye bilateral economic and trade relations were improving; whereas the bilateral trade with Turkiye had surpassed $1 billion.

It was a milestone and we could only envisage Pakistani exports to Turkiye growing steadily from here onwards, he added.

It is pertinent to note that a high-profile and large Turkish trade delegation is visiting Pakistan; and, FPCCI has organized a multi-sector B2B networking session for the delegation.

The B2B event attracted top traders from all sectors of both the countries and a total of 350 traders took part in the meetings – encompassing diverse industries; exploration of joint ventures; transfer of knowledge and technology; assessing the trade potential in non-conventional product segments and vistas that will be opened after the Turkish parliament passes that Trade in Goods Agreement (TGA) with Pakistan.

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Addressing the official dinner in honor of Turkish delegation hosted by FPCCI, Suleman Chawla, SVP FPCCI said that Pakistan and Turkiye had never been positioned for more robust, diverse and large-scale bilateral trade growth as they were now due to Pakistan’s accession into TIR Convention for land-based cargoes.

The Chairman of FPCCI’s Pakistan-Turkiye Joint Business Council (PTJBC) apprised the audiences that FPCCI was closely working with DEIK and TOBB for business-to-business and chamber-to-chamber cooperation; and, FPCCI was striving to benefit from Turkiye’s technological advancements in industrial production, quality standards as good as any other European countries, entrepreneurial zeal and exportable goods.

He added that after visit of the aforementioned delegation of Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) and Eastern Black Sea Exporters Association (DKiB), which were the top bodies of Turkish traders; and, this visit would result in enhanced bilateral trade and joint ventures.

Ahmet Hamdi Gurdogan, head of the Turkish delegation, Supervisory Board Member of Türkiye Exporters Assembly and Vice President of Eastern Black Sea Exporters Association, said that the delegation comprised of 45 members and they were looking for their local partners for industrial, trade and commercial cooperation. He also apprised that Turkiye wanted to cement trade relations with Pakistan on the lines of Turkiye-Iran trade relations – making full use of geoeconomic advantages; transit trade and capitalizing on land-based regional connectivities.

Cemal Sangu, Consul General of Turkiye, highlighted that Pakistan had a population of 220 million and Turkey had a population 85 million; and, those 305 million plus people and consumers substantiate a bilateral trade volume of at least $5 billion. This milestone could be achieved in short-term and should not take more than 2 – 3 years to achieve; and, the new TGA should enable us to reach $15 billion 5 – 10 years, he added.

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Export-led growth cure for country’s economic woes: Ahsan Iqbal

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Export-led growth cure for country's economic woes: Ahsan Iqbal

Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Prof. Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that export-led growth is the cure for our economic woes for boosting the country’s economic growth.

The Ministry for Planning Development and Special Initiatives will recommend to Prime Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif that an export emergency should be declared to take the country out of economic quagmire; said the Minister for planning, while meeting the top Pakistani exporters, said a press release issued here.

The meeting was attended by the Exporters Representatives from Steel, Pharmaceutical and Textile sectors, who also apprised the minister about the problems faced by them in the course of doing business and exporting indigenous products abroad.

The Minister while assuring them about the full-fledged support of the Government remarked that we will provide all-out support to the Industrial sector for resolving their issues.

He also asserted that the business community should present to the Government of any red-tapism or any other bottlenecks in the way of undertaking any venture, “we will cut Red Tape”, said the Minister.

He added that the incumbent Government is pursuing a business-friendly policy and promoting a conducive environment for entrepreneurs.

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The Minister said that in the past, we learnt to consume instead of earning. He also said that the survival of the country depends on the premise that whether we can enhance our exports from $32 billion to $100 billion in the shortest possible time. The Government stands with the Industrial sector to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to push Exports.

The Minister offered the platform of the Ministry of Planning and Development to the private sector for assisting in the resolution of their problems.

The Minister lamented that CPEC provided us a golden opportunity to turn-around the economy of Pakistan but the opportunity was squandered due to the bad economic policies of the previous regime.

However, we are committed to reviving the CPEC Project. He added that China imports $2250 Billion worth of goods out of which Pakistan has a meager share of $ 3 billion, which is dismal.

The Minister laid emphasis to target the Chinese market and increase market share in the US and European markets so that a progressive export-led economy can be realized adding that the Government will support the industrial sector to meet the challenges of global competitiveness.

The Minister said that vision 2010 and Vision 2025 envisioned revamping the Economic structure and bringing prosperity and development in Pakistan but unfortunately Political instability derailed the journey of progress.

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Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan increase by 4.60 percent

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Pakistan's exports to Afghanistan increase by 4.60 percent

Pakistan s export of goods and services to Afghanistan witnessed an increase of 4.60 percent during the first half of the current fiscal year (2022-23) as compared to the exports of corresponding period of last year, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported.

The overall exports to Afghanistan were recorded at US $251.580 million during July-December (2022-23) against exports of US $240.504 million during July- December (2021-22), showing growth of 2.83 percent, SBP data revealed.

On a year-to-year basis, the exports to Afghanistan also increased 15.71 percent from US $33.097 million in December 2022, against the exports of US $38.297 million in December 2021.

Meanwhile, on a month-on-month basis, the exports to Afghanistan rose by 2.77 percent during December 2022 as compared to the exports of US $37.263 million in November 2022, the SBP data revealed.

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Overall Pakistan s exports to other countries witnessed a decrease of 6.76 percent in the first six months, from US $ 15.242 billion to US $ 14.211 billion, the SBP data revealed.

On the other hand, the imports from Afghanistan into the country during the period under review were recorded at US $13.253 million against US $90.430 million last year, showing a decline of 85.34 percent in July- December (2022-23).

On a year-on-year basis, the import for Afghanistan witnessed also decreased by 90.01 percent from US $17.311 million in December 2021, against the imports of US $1.729 million in December 2022.

On a month-on-month basis, the imports from Afghanistan into the country increased by 25.92 percent during December 2022, as compared to the imports of US $1.373 million during November 2022, according to the data.

The overall imports into the country witnessed a decrease of 18.24 percent, from US $36.094 billion to US $29.509 billion, according to the data.

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Based on the trade figures, the trade of goods and services with Afghanistan witnessed an increase of 58.80 percent in surplus during July-December (2022-23) as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

The surplus during the period under review was recorded at US $238.327 million against US $150.074 million during the same period of last year, showing growth of 58.80 percent, the data revealed.

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