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Blog Category: Commercial Diplomacy

Working to Strengthen Economic Relationship, Secretary Pritzker Concludes Commercial Diplomacy Trip to Pakistan

During her trip, Secretary Pritzker also held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited Islamabad, Pakistan this week as part of the Administration’s efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment with Pakistan and strengthen the partnership between our governments and people.

As part of her first official visit to the country, Secretary Pritzker joined Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to launch the first-ever U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week, a bilateral initiative intended to highlight the potential for growing the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. She thanked senior government officials for their dedication to improving the partnership and acknowledged that the economic relationship between the two countries has, over the years, buttressed the overall relationship and is still growing.

U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week included the third U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, an event intended to engage the private sector from both the United States and Pakistan, and strengthen business-to-business ties.

Secretary Pritzker opened the Business Opportunities Conference on Tuesday. Addressing an audience of more than 400 people, many attending from overseas, the Secretary applauded the work being done by the Pakistani and American private sector companies represented. She commended them for engaging with government agencies seeking to improve Pakistan’s business and investment climate and called on them to continue their efforts to expand trade and investment between Pakistan and the United States.

In Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker Meets with Government Officials, Business Leaders, and Entrepreneurs to Discuss Ways to Improve Economic Opportunity

To demonstrate the United States’ commitment to Tunisia’s transition to democracy, and to underscore the reforms needed to attract investment, generate economic growth, and create jobs in the country, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker led a delegation to Tunisia this week. In addition to offering a keynote address at the Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference, hosted by the Partnership for New Beginnings and the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker met with Tunisian government officials, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s economy.

In a meeting with representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker received input on the country’s current business environment and discussed potential opportunities for U.S. firms in the market. For example, Tunisia’s location on the coast can make it an ideal hub for operations in the Middle East and Africa. Others spoke about the opportunities in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, specifically.

About 70 American firms operate in Tunisia right now, but there is substantial room for that figure to grow should Tunisia make certain economic reforms that will create a more inviting business climate. Some of these reforms include streamlining the investment code, restructuring the banking sector, creating a more transparent, reliable, and modern tax and customs structure, and developing a strong public-private partnerships law that increases transparency and predictability for domestic and foreign firms.

President’s Export Council Espouses Commercial Diplomacy

Robert Wolf, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors

Guest blog post by Robert Wolf, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors.

As a member of the President’s Export Council (PEC), I had the good fortune of going to Poland and Turkey with a group led by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker along with CEOs from Archer Daniels Midland, Lockheed Martin, Marriott, UPS, Vermeer and Xerox as well as representatives from other member firms.  The PEC, comprised of companies with an aggregate market capital of over $850 billion, chose Poland and Turkey for our inaugural trip with the Secretary as we view these countries, first and foremost, as high priority economically important growth markets in addition to being strategically significant.

During the trip I wore two hats: one as an ambassador for US businesses broadly promoting the President’s National Export Initiative and US foreign direct investment priorities and, second, as a businessman in representing a cross-border advisory on a fact finding mission to explore Poland and Turkey as good places to enhance our business relationships and our client’s growth initiatives.

I learned that both Poland and Turkey want many of the same things as the US: transparency, public/private partnerships, infrastructure investment, an all-in energy approach and a skilled labor force/education.

What I found while visiting with both public and private leaders was that there are some incredible market opportunities for US businesses. Given the impressive strides both countries have made in recent years, I am not particularly surprised.