LAHORE  - Acting US Consul General in Lahore Kathleen Gibilisco has said that the United States (US) will continue helping Pakistan become an important regional trade and logistics hub.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the ‘Pakistan-Kyrgyz Republic – Trade and Investment Forum’ at a local hotel here on Friday, she said the US supports improving Pakistan’s trade volumes, particularly with Central Asian Republics through USAID’s Pakistan Regional Economic Integration Activity (PREIA).

The forum was organised jointly by the USAID, Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), and Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Pakistan. USAID’s PREIA is a seven-year initiative that aims to promote development in Pakistan’s trade sector with focus on Pakistan’s regional integration with Central Asian Republics.

Kyrgz Ambassador to Pakistan Totuiaev Ulanbek Asankulovich and Director General (DG) TDAP Shahzad Ahmed Khan Rajput represented their respective countries.

Ms Gibilisco said the project assists Pakistani and Central Asian businesses by supporting trade promotion initiatives, organizing trade exhibitions and business forums, facilitating bilateral trade deals and partnerships, and increasing awareness of untapped opportunities for trade and investment between countries.

“This year marks 75 years of US-Pakistan bilateral relations. During this time, our partnership has grown in many areas, and we look forward to building on our successes and expanding trade and investment ties and opportunities within the region,” noted the acting Consul General Gibilisco.

Kyrgyz ambassador Totuiaev Ulanbek Asankulovich, speaking on the occasion, underlined the need of bilateral trade ties, adding that Kyrgyzstan offered huge business opportunities to the Pakistani investors in the hydel-power projects.

He said Kygyzstan provided the shortest entry route for the Pakistani products to the Central Asian states, Russia and Europe.

DG TDAP Shahzad Ahmed Khan Rajput stressed the need of a mutually beneficial trade ties between the two countries, adding that Pakistan’s location offers the shortest routes to the warm waters of the Arabia sea.

The Forum brought together more than 150 public and private sector stakeholders including representatives of trade development authorities and free economic zones, traders, industry unions, trade associations, chambers of commerce and industries, investors and businessmen from Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. A 45-member delegation from Kyrgyz Republic visited Pakistan from April 19-22 to participate in two Trade and Investment Forums in Islamabad and Lahore. The participants underscored the importance of utilizing the geostrategic locations of Pakistan and Kyrgyz Republic to bolster economic ties within the region.