Houstonian Corner (V9-I28)

New Commercial Attaché & PCC-USA Facilitated Visit Of Pak Trade Delegation to Houston

The Government of Pakistan recently sent an eleven-member trade delegation to visit the USA, which arrived here in Houston on 24th of June, 2007.

The delegates were received by Dr. Zia Ahmed, the Commercial Secretary of the Consulate of Pakistan in Houston and Mr. Amir Khan, General Secretary of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (PCC) USA.

City council member M.J. Khan welcomed the delegates to a luncheon. The delegates visited the consulate of Pakistan in Houston and Mr. G. R. Baluch hosted a dinner in their honor. Mr. Saeed Sheikh, President elect PCC USA and Dr. Zia Ahmed Commercial Attaché explained the itinerary of the delegation.

The PCC-USA hosted a community dinner where a large number of Pakistani communities turned up along with representatives/ office bearers of various associations and trade organizations. The main speakers were Mr. Saeed Sheikh, Mr. Haroon Sheikh, Hon. M. J. Khan, Mr. Kamal Shaharyar, Dr. Zia Ahmed and Mr. G. R. Baluch. The delegates were honored by shields of recognition sponsored by PCC-USA along with congressional awards/certificates by the Mayor Houston, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and Congressman AL Green. The delegates enjoyed a sumptuous dinner and interacted with the local community people from different traits.

Earlier, the formal meetings of the delegates started on Monday June 25th with the visit to the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), where Mr. Jensen Shen, Manager International Business Development delivered a trade briefing about GHP and told the delegates the objectives of their forum. His presentation was followed by a brief address by Dr. Zia Ahmed, Commercial Attaché, Mr. G. R. Baluch, Consul General and Mr. Saeed Sheikh, President Elect of PCC-USA. The delegates asked some questions of the office of the GHP and finally a note of thanks was given by Mr. Kamal Shaharyar, leader of the delegation.

The delegates were led to Sam’s Club, where Mr. Todd Stafford and Mr. Khaleed Khan welcomed them and told about their Club’s activities. The delegates then went to the Hilton Hotel to attend a business networking workshop. This was one of the key activities arranged by the commercial section, consulate of Pakistan in collaboration with PCC-USA. Dr. Zia Ahmed, Commercial Attaché, threw light on the objectives of this first ever visit of any government of Pakistan sponsored trade delegation to this important economic hub of the South of USA, Houston.

He said that this trade delegation was here to explore the market and new avenues in the fields of textiles, dry fruits, marbles and jewelry and establish some mutual trade relations. These delegates were the leading manufacturers and exporters of various sectors in Pakistan. Through this networking seminar, the delegates were exposed to meet and interact with the key business of their respective areas. He further mentioned that in terms of trade, the USA was Pakistan’s single largest trading partner, with volume of trade at nearly $5.8 billion in year 2005-06 and said 25.5% of Pakistan’s exports go to the US.

Over the last three years, there has been a considerable increase in exports from Pakistan to the USA. ($2.2 billion in 2000-01 to $4.2 billion in 2005-2006). Out of which, 89% of Pakistan exports to the US are textiles and clothing products. Mr. Saeed Sheikh, President elect of PCC USA, the head of the delegation, and other key business and community leaders also addressed to the participants. In the welcome address, Mr. G. R. Baluch, Consul General mentioned that Pakistan and the United States were long-standing friends and allies. Bilateral relations between the two countries went back to the early years after Pakistan’s independence. He said that these delegates would help in strengthening the trade relations between these two friendly economies.

For information about trade with Pakistan, one can contact Dr. Zia Ahmed, Commercial Attaché, Head of Commercial Section, Consulate of Pakistan, 11850 Jones Road, Houston, Texas 77070 USA, Phone: 281.890.2223, Fax: 281.890.1433, E-Mail: zachepb@yahoo.com.

Houston Giant Halliburton Goes to Dubai–With Money

The last Halliburton annual general meeting happened in Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. Halliburton has now moved their operations to Dubai.

Vice-President Dick Cheney is Halliburton’s former CEO and Board Chairman. It is said his influence resulted in Halliburton getting huge military and oil contracts in the Middle East, which became possible due to the US occupation of Iraq. Several protestors came to the location of this last meeting of Halliburton, where the amplifier resounded with the hit song “Take the money and run.” Dozens of security guarded this Halliburton going away party.

A report authored by CorpWatch and its partners Halliburton Watch and the Oil & Gas Accountability Project (authored by investigative writers and journalists Pratap Chatterjee and Charlie Cray) is entitled – Goodbye Houston: An Alternative Annual Report on Halliburton”–This report came out at the same time Halliburton met in Woodlands.

An in-depth, hard-hitting report, “Goodbye Houston,” provides a detailed look at Halliburton’s military and energy operations around the world as well as its political connections. Halliburton is one of the 10 largest contractors to the U.S. military. It has earned over $20 billion from the U.S. military in war-related contracts in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. This cash bonanza may well be over because of the cancellation of its two most lucrative contracts: “Oil Infrastructure Reconstruction” & “Military Base Support.”

“With the loss of its two biggest taxpayer-funded contracts in Iraq, Halliburton has decided that its future lies outside the US. The company decision to move its headquarters to Dubai could spell a major financial loss to the U.S. Treasury,” says Pratap Chatterjee, co-director of CorpWatch.

“Given the multiple ongoing investigations into Halliburton’s alleged wrongdoing, policymakers should closely scrutinize Halliburton ‘s latest move, and whether it will allow the company to further elude accountability,” said Charlie Cray, co-director of Halliburton Watch and director of the Center for Corporate Policy. “Moreover, this underscores the need for Congress to bar companies that have broken the law, or avoided paying taxes, from receiving federal contracts.”

“Goodbye Houston” documents how Halliburton may have broken the law by employing private security guards like Blackwater and Triple Canopy; the Triple Canopy guards have been alleged to have shot at unarmed Iraqis for sport. Halliburton truck drivers allege the company failed to adequately protect them in Iraq. New military audits show deliberate concealment of high overheads. New lawsuits allege that company management in Iraq and Kuwait knowingly wasted millions of dollars of taxpayers’ dollars.

Halliburton has also finally admitted that its executives may have been involved in bribery and political meddling Nigeria. Also Halliburton’s hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States have continued to have disastrous impacts on the environment, including community water supplies. Halliburton has been accused of substandard work on offshore operations in Brazil, and is under investigation for no-bid contracts in Algeria.


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